Gallery: Electric US Postal Service Trucks Could Serve as Grid Storage ...


America’s fleet of postal service trucks seem pretty mundane. However, with the right technology, those white, rectangular trucks could help bring more renewable energy to the grid. PJM Interconnection, a regional electricity transmission organization (RTO) that transmits electricity to 13 states and the District of Columbia, came up with a strategy to turn postal service trucks, school buses and garbage trucks into grid storage mechanisms. If all these fleet vehicles were electric, they could store grid energy in their batteries during off-peak hours. Not only would that increase grid reliability, it would help bring more power from wind and solar online.

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  1. Dee Kay September 21, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    BobB – vehicle to grid (V2G) technology doesn’t generally involve deep cycling. This is less about load shifting than what’s known as regulation services – helping the grid manage second to second fluctuations. I’ve seen the U of Del studies and you’d be surprised how little wear and tear there is on the battery.The ISO such as PJM interconnect pays for the storage capacity, but doesn’t necessarily use it fully, i.e. doesn’t run fully down, charge fully up. Much more subtle power transfers are involved.

  2. Bob B. April 10, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    These people must think that the batteries are infinitely rechargeable at no cost. They aren’t. They have a finite lifetime in number of charge-disharge cycles. And they last much, much longer if they are routinely discharged shallowly in their intended use, instead of continually deep cycled for this unintended purpose.

    This plan would wear out the batteries much faster than normal. The cost of the battery packs is quite high. The alleged “savings” per year of $1645 or more per truck needs to be compared with the depreciation per year of the battery pack in this kind of hard use. The savings might actually be much less than optimistically assumed by the proponents, enough so to make properly designed large storage systems more attractive than this approach.

  3. Asunpower April 10, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Those flat top is great to install Solar Panels

  4. Renewable Ray April 9, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    This is absolutely possible. These vehicles could store and produce energy for the grid. They run all day producing enough energy to supply multiple homes [with the right alternators]. They can maintain a small “cranking amps” battery and also charge multiple deep cycle batteries all day, contributing to the grid at night. This is not far fetched, it would be easy!

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