QOTD: Could Energy Storage Unlock the EV Market?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

The New York Times has an interesting piece on cars being used to store excess electricity.

As you no doubt know, one reason EVs cost as much as they do -- most EVs are more expensive than ICE vehicles -- is because of the cost of batteries.

But, the TImes asks, what if electric vehicles could be used to store energy from the grid, and perhaps drivers could get rewarded for it?

Maybe EV owners could get free parking, reduced electric rates, or something like that?

According to the Times, Ford, GM, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Renault are interested in some form or another.

In fact, those who buy the upcoming Renault R5 in Europe will be able to access this feature.

It seems, on paper, like a pretty nifty idea. Aid an overtaxed grid by storing energy in cars that are plugged in, buying the power low and selling it high. Then reward drivers who are willing to "lend" their car to the grid while it's charging.

In Renault's case, R5 owners will have control on much power goes back to the grid and they'll get a break on their utility bills.

We've already seen some bidirectional charging via vehicles -- Ford offers it on the Lightning and BMW will offer it soon on some of its EVs.

Pundits think this could spur EV adoption. What say you?

Sound off below.

[Image: Ford]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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19 of 87 comments
  • Carson D Carson D on Jun 06, 2024

    Has the energy storage fire in San Diego burned itself out yet?

    • See 8 previous
    • 1995 SC 1995 SC on Jun 09, 2024

      I'd breathe in some exhaust, but I'm pretty messed up from that swim in one of those lithium leach ponds.

  • Cprescott Cprescott on Jun 06, 2024

    Sounds like people are trying to find reasons to justify expensive golf carts AFTER the fact instead of building into networks for this purpose. I can see someone wanting to recharge their batteries with solar, but to purposely pull energy from the grid and to put the battery through more cycles to act as a power brick seems like an expensive option.

    • See 1 previous
    • Jeff Jeff on Jun 06, 2024

      I doubt most EV owners consider storing energy from EVs. Most EV owners where I live charge in their garages and many have solar panels on their roofs, Southern Arizona is sunny most of the year. They are still hooked up to the grid. I don't think it is that big a deal and they are not required to store energy or to have solar panels. I am not going to tell them they shouldn't do it.

  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Jun 06, 2024

    There are better ways to store energy for emergency use than through an EV. It is an interesting concept and would be okay for personal use depending on your driving habits .

    • 1995 SC 1995 SC on Jun 06, 2024

      Yes. I have a small portable inverter type deal. It will run off the house's LP tank or gas, keep the fridge running, power the igniter for the tankless water heater, run a small portable ac to keep a room cool (have fireplaces for the winter), and run a TV, charge phones and run the internet stuff if it's up. We can take hot showers, stay warm or cool, keep the food from spoiling and cook. Using my car for this purpose seems to add needless complexity and I wouldn't be able to leave if need be if I depended on the EV. We have one and I can't see wanting to use it like this. I'd list it as a "nice to have" but I don't see it swaying many sales

  • Master Baiter Master Baiter on Jun 06, 2024

    I'm in the process of installing a critical loads panel in my house. We rarely lose power here, but a recent storm knocked out the power for about 4 hours--long enough to cause concern about the food in my two refrigerators and one stand-up freezer.

    Backing up those items and a few lights draws about 1kW; I already have a 6kW hybrid inverter and 15kWh of LFP batteries I'm not using, so I'd get 15 hours of backup power. I also have a 2kW Honda generator which can re-charge the batteries should I need energy for an extended period of time.

    Regarding EVs, most folks don't have the knowledge/skill to install the hardware for powering their house from an EV, so I don't see it being a big driver of EV sales.

    • See 2 previous
    • 1995 SC 1995 SC on Jun 09, 2024

      Now tell us how we can all afford to have them come do this sort of work. Some of us don't live where 2 million is a starter home so we need your guidance