With electric cars spending most of their day sitting idle in parking lots, a pilot project at the University of Delaware plans to use the vehicle's batteries as an affordable way to "store renewable energy so it can be available when it is needed, not only when the wind blows or the sun shines." And while owners of the vehicles would be compensated, the novel idea is not without its hurdles.
California has the nation's most aggressive goals for renewable power and also wants to put 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road over the next decade. State officials say vehicle-to-grid technology could point toward a way to accomplish both goals faster, for less money.
The idea is that utilities would pay vehicle owners to store electricity in the batteries of electric vehicles when the power grid has a surplus and drain electricity back out of them when demand rises.
The plan takes advantage of a key fact about cars: They spend most of their time parked. The technology makes idle vehicles a source of storage for utilities and cash for car owners.
The "Cash Back Car" is how the concept is described by Jon Wellinghoff, the recently retired chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. "It provides another incentive for people to buy electric cars," he said.
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