Recharging System for your Electric Vehicle

Electric cars
Electric cars

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.

Battery Technology Not Only For Vehicles

BATTERYpack
BATTERYpack

Coda Automotive, a division of Coda Holdings, had previously planned to make its electric sedan available to the general public in the next month. This may take a backseat as its parent company, Coda Holdings, has announced it would be focusing its efforts on another related technology, stationary batteries for electricity storage.

The battery technology for the company would start by making minor modification for battery packs to its cars. The batteries are lithium iron phosphate cells made in China. The company then either sells them individually or in a bundled package that can be used to store solar power for excess power from the individual’s solar array. With the extra power, companies are able to reduce their peak load leading to lower overhead costs for electricity for the consumer.

Since the company has designed the electric packs for cars, these arrays are easily transportable and can be modified either up or down. The giant’s car division has designed its sedan around a battery pack that is able to store 31 to 36 kilowatt hours. With the expansion into the stationary module product line, the battery is able to store at least forty-kilowatt hours.

The company seeking expansion into stationary battery packs is entering a lucrative sector of the market. These battery arrays can be used as back up electricity sources because the demand far outstrips the supply. The idea of this lateral expansion is to support the electric car market as battery sources for electrical power would be available and thus lower demand for the new electrical power increases as more electric vehicles go online.

According to Edward A. Solar, Senior Vice President of Coda Energy, “We are leveraging this technology across business units as it is synergistic for us.” Coda Energy would be the division that focuses on stationary batteries of the future.

The company further adds the use of batteries in stationary service would help in the reduction of global warming emissions. In the stationary market, the electricity produced from large-scale solar farms would be stored and eventually bought and sold freely in the market. These batteries are designed to provide high levels of electricity, as the current design is able to handle 100 kilowatts or 134 horsepower.

The larger battery array for cars has also become attractive for grid use. One other firm has entered the market for large storage batteries and this is A123 Systems. Their largest array is located in Elkins, West Virginia and has cells smaller than a D cell flashlight battery pack.

Solar Powered Rechargers

sunSOLAR
sunSOLAR

Nissan, in partnership with the 4R Energy Corp, are developing one of the most environmentally way of recharging their electric cars. The package for new vehicles would be including a solar power charging system with each vehicle.

The system would be able to recharge the high performance lithium-ion batteries of Nissan electric vehicles through 488 solar cells installed at the Nissan main offices in Yokohama. There are four batteries from the Leaf that would store the collected electricity. These batteries then would help in providing power to the seven charging stations spread throughout the corporate headquarter grounds.

This would be a groundbreaking way to recharge batteries. The electric vehicle does not produce CO2 emissions when it is used. This makes it a very environmentally friendly machine. Now, by being able to recharge it through a renewable source, this is an all the more environmental system. The current critique is that electric cars are merely transferring the CO2 emissions from one producer (car) to the electric plant because of the higher electricity demand. Now, in using solar power, the energy source is renewable without any pollution as a by-product. Also, with extra batteries stored with a constant energy source, the range of the vehicle as well as availability of full charged batteries would make electric cars much more viable in the long-term.

This system through is not entirely new. Another company in the United States has opened up solar powered charging stations. SolarCity, in partnership with ClipperCreek, has started to create solar powered charging stations to residents. Each unit is for home installation and the cost per unit starts at $1500 per unit. This price though does not include the lease for the SolarCity arrays that capture the sunlight and turn it into electrical energy.

This not only provides a full transportation system without any harmful pollution in any way. In charging your electric car using the solar powered charger, the cost of electricity is much lower, in some areas nearly half the cost from commercial electricity suppliers.

"SolarCity's mission has always been to help homeowners and businesses adopt clean power while saving on energy costs," Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity, said in a statement."Electric cars are already among the cleanest-running vehicles on the road-charging them on solar makes them that much better. Tens of thousands of electric cars will be delivered over the next year alone, with hundreds of thousands expected over the next five years. We're making it easier to power them with carbon-free electricity for zero emissions, and to dramatically reduce the cost of driving."