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Electric cars may become solution for power storage

2014 Ford Focus Electric

2014 Ford Focus Electric (Source: Ford)

By Anthony Alaniz

A pilot program out of the University of Delaware hopes to turn electric cars into energy-grid storage units, allowing the car owners to get paid for the electricity taken from their cars when they are plugged into the grid.

This would be a way to control the flow of electricity into the system when other forms of renewable energy sources, like wind and solar power, are sometimes unstable.

“This is a fascinating option,” said Robert Weisenmiller, chair of the California Energy Commission, in an interview with The Los Angeles Times. “The technology works. You can do this. The question is … what do we need to do to make it happen?”

One issue with the concept is convincing automakers of the potential to create a value proposition for the car owner and boost sales, said Tom Gage, chief executive of EVGrid, in an interview with The Los Angeles Times.

Automakers are not in the business of stabilizing the electric grid. There are also concerns about voiding a vehicle’s manufacturer warranty.

Another hurdle is utility regulations and the companies. Typically, utility companies invest in large-plant technologies that make money by charging the customers. There are no large storage plants to invest in with vehicle storage so they may shy away from this type of emerging technology.

“There is momentum behind this idea,” Willett Kempton said, the brainchild behind the program, in an interview with The Los Angeles Times. “These batteries are a huge resource, and we are going to need them.”

Source: The Los Angeles Times

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