EV 2.0: It Powers Your House
The Japanese seem to be convinced that EVs are the wave of the future. They are so convinced that they are thinking up schemes to use that big expensive battery in the car for other things if the car is not used for other things. Such as when that new EV is sitting in the driveway while Watanabe-san commuted to work using the JR-train. Nissan, Hitachi, and Orix announced that they will work together on turning those batteries-on-wheels into dual-use technology.
“The idea is to prepare the groundwork for an infrastructure in which electric vehicles are part of a broader use of renewable energy,” says The Nikkei [sub]. This is roughly how it’s supposed to work:
- Solar battery-chargers developed by Hitachi will keep the batteries topped off.
- Control systems developed by Nissan enable the lithium ion batteries in the Leaf to power the house when the car is not used.
- Management technologies developed by Orix turn the car in the driveway into a small electric-vehicle car-sharing business.
Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, or NEDO, will shoulder two-thirds of the project’s cost. They seem to be so convinced of the success of the EV that they are already worried about it sitting around idle.
If I'm buying a Leaf for $25k, it won't be sitting around much with nothing to do. I get the load-leveling thing - that's a real problem for peaky power sources - but the development would be better spent on stationary batteries dedicated for that purpose. These people forget that drivers expect their cars to run upon command, without thinking about which way the electricity has been flowing lately. Besides, one way load-leveling is accomplished today is by pumping water uphill into reservoirs, then permitting it to flow out into hydroelectric generators when needed.
The life of the battery is likely partly dependent on the number of charge/discharge cycles. Allowing the electric utility to extract power from the battery would increase the number of charge/discharge cycles and, likely, shorten the life of the battery. Will this void the warranty? qslippy, I tend to agree with you, some form of stationary storage makes more sense. Whether or not it's economical quite yet... that's unlikely.. but we'll get there. Demand shaping can save utilities quite a lot of money... which we'd like to see passed along to consumers.
I wouldn't get too excited about this (although I'm sure the greenies will). Japan is a small country with a high population density. This makes their extensive public transportation system practical. EVs won't work in Wyoming. In the 1980s, the Japanese were supposed to become the dominant industrial and financial power on the planet. In the field of electronics, they developed analog HD television and were supposed to be close to artificial intelligence. Television is now digital, not analog, and artificial intelligence is still under development.
I don't think it is the greatest idea for the reason that the (expensive) battery life shortens and that I expect my 40-mil radius car to be full of juice at any time and not only half full. The part I don't understand, why is that labeled as news? I don't know about Japan, but every US electric utility talks about that option already as part of the smart grid. I'm sure Japanese talked about that for a long time too and it is just one idea how to deal with peak power since many expensive power plants need to be built just for some hours a year. From news I expect something new that I didn't know 3 years ago. Oh, really the microprocessor is invented? And there is an internet?? Really?