Saturday, April 27, 2013

Electric car batteries smooth out power distribution

In a previous post I discussed the use of home water heaters to store excess electricity generated by wind farms. The problem is simple, Electric companies want to deliver to a constant demand of power at 60 cycles per second. But with wind and solar power generation being up to the whims of mother nature, supply is not so constant.

An unexpected solution to this is the growing numbers of electric cars that are plugged in to charging units during this unstable time. With the addition of a small gadget, these cars can send electricity back into the grid when needed. While the cars will still charge, they will do so in fits and starts, evening out the peaks and valleys of the power supply.

Why should electric car owners do this? Presumably it would take a little longer to bring the cars up to full charge and, if you unplug it after it has just discharged some power, you may be starting off with less than a full charge. The answer, as always, is money. Cars with the gadget added will earn $5 a day. That adds up to $1,800 a year for a gadget that costs $400.

This won't work until there are a lot of electric cars out there with this capability but pilot programs are starting up. Pretty cool, huh?

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