VEHICLE GRID TECHNOLOGY: Car power for your home

by , 04/18/07

toyota prius, hybrid electricity, power source

Here at Inhabitat, we feature numerous ways in which you can power your house. Whether by using solar panels, wind turbines, hydrogen, gas, and even geothermal energy, we can say that alternative sources of energy are slowly creeping into our daily usage. Well, now you can add cars to that list, with PG&E’s new vehicle-to-grid technology which allows you to power your house with your hybrid car!

During the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Alternative Energy Solutions Summit (boy, is that a mouthful), The California-based Pacific Gas and Electric Company showed the first use of a Vehicle to Grid technology, which works by adding a lithium battery to increase the vehicle’s ability to store electricity. The V2G technology allows these hybrid cars, which are normally charged by plugging them into a 110 volt outlet, to send the charge the other way in the case of an emergency or to offset some of the energy used at home, should the car not be required. It showcased this prototype by attaching a Toyota Prius, to a small electric heater and some lights.

Interestingly enough, this technology also has the added benefit of increasing the amount of renewable energy available to the grid. It allows the user, through an agreement with the utility company, to sell back the stored energy on the vehicle, which was collected at night, and send it back to the grid during peak hour, when demand is highest. The technology, as is usual with these prototypes, will not be available any time soon, and is not expected to have wide-scale development before 2012.

+PG&E Press Release article
+Silicon Valley Leadership Group

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  1. John January 14, 2008 at 8:52 am

    I agree with Sam. This will only cause more pollution than additional power plants would provide. And here is another major problem; the rechargable lithium batteries in the cars have a finite number of charge cycles and they are VERY expensive.

    This device could be useful for personal emergency power on an occasional use basis. Otherwise it is an absolute waste of resources-very NON earth friendly.

  2. Ruben Buyck April 22, 2007 at 9:52 am

    At last, finnaly a fully ecologic solution for the energie ( CO²) problem.
    Lets go for it, the new revolution must begin soon. We are already to late to save the environment.
    Its a shame that in anno 2007, ecologic design (houses end factories, cars) not so prominent is like other things like gsm, gps, laptop, mp3 players….

  3. Sam April 19, 2007 at 12:38 am

    “Interestingly enough, this technology also has the added benefit of increasing the amount of renewable energy available to the grid.”

    I have no idea how they reason this to be true. The energy stored in the batteries is either coming from burning fossil fuels in the car or from the power plant when plugged in to recharge. I’d rather have new generating stations that generate electricity more efficiently than thousands of small gas engines doing the job poorly.

    And this is far from new technology. You can accomplish the same thing with similar efficiency by using a plain ol’ standalone gas generator.

    I call greenwashing on this one. Am I missing something?

  4. Warren Brooke April 18, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    This technology is fantastic. Currently the grid has trouble meeting the electrical demand at peak times, while generating capacity is idle through the night. Having this fleet of rolling batteries allows night-time electricity generation to be used during peak demand times, meaning new generating stations are not needed to be built.

    I wonder what the purchase/payment scheme would be for the electricity that you store during the night (purchase), and then release to the grid (sell) during peak load times would be.

  5. Dale Kahn April 18, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Don’t get too excited about this. It likely won’t happen before 2015 or later, PG&E’s product manager says:

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