One of the lesser known, but currently explored options for battery charging, is called the Vehicle to Grid system or the V2G system. This system operates when electric vehicles call on the power grid to sell services directly by delivery of bulk electricity or increasing the charging rate for their home chargers.
This system functions on electric vehicles, either the battery operated or plug in hybrids that can connect to the grid. Current statistics show that vehicles are often parked 95 percent of the time and as such, their batteries can be used to connect to power lines and back to provide additional power sources. On the other hand, once the vehicle is to be used, it can call on the service provider to juice up the vehicle so to speak in order to be usable.
One of the most noted V2G projects is located in the University of Delaware. The project is headed by Dr Willett Kempton and its goals through its research is to educate the public of the environmental and economic benefits of the system to enhance the product viability in the market.
The term V2G was coined by the technology company AC Propulsion Inc. Currently, this battery to grid power system is used in three different versions, which are as follows:
- Hybrids or Fuel Cells. These vehicle platforms generate power from stored fuel and use a generator to produce the power at peak usage times. In this system, the vehicles are used as a distributed generation system, producing power from conventional fuel sources or hydrogen.
- Battery or Plug in Hybrids. These vehicle platforms use its excess battery power to provide electricity to the grid during peak load demands. At off peak hours, these vehicles are recharged to absorb excess evening generation as a form of distributed battery power buffer storage system.
- Solar Powered. These vehicle platforms uses its excess electricity to supply power to the electric grid once the battery reaches fully charged, becoming a renewable power station available off site. This is often used for solar powered boats to far flung areas.
The main help that V2G provides as its ability to balance electrical loads during the peak and off peak hours. With the system in place, the peak demand is augmented by individual power sources while off peak times would be increased when these power sources are being recharged. This practice allows voltage and frequency stability together with a available spinning reserve for power.
The future of V2G is endless, with plans to make these platforms become renewable sources of electricity for renewable energy sources, such as wind and wave power. This would result in lower demand for natural gas or coal fired power plants, insurance sources for peak demands or during blackouts.
For the current crop of electric vehicles, the Nissan Leaf has explored this technology in light of the recent earthquake and tsunami disasters that hit the country. While this is an opportunity for many, in the long run it would provide benefits for all.