Pacific Gas and Electric Company is partnering with Tesla Motors to further evolve vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology by researching smart charging—a form of V2G designed to allow remote control charging of electric vehicles connected to the power grid.
V2G is conventionally considered as the delivery of power from a vehicle back to the power grid. However, vehicles can also provide short-term ancillary services to the grid even without delivering power back to the grid. By allowing the vehicle charging rate to be ramped up and down remotely through smart metering, a vehicle can perform a grid ancillary service called regulation. Regulation is currently performed 24/7 by power plants in order to fine tune the balance between generation and load.
Of the four power markets that are relevant to V2G—baseload power, peak power, spinning reserves and regulation—regulation is a highly competitive market opening for V2G, according to an earlier analysis by Willet Kempton and Jasna Tomić.
But electric drive vehicles, with their fast response and low capital costs, appear to be a better match for the quick-response, short-duration, electric services, such as spinning reserves and regulation. These constitute, for example, in the US, 5–10% of electric generation costs, or about US$ 10 billion/year.—Kempton and Tomić
The project partnership will combine Tesla Motors’ electric vehicle expertise with PG&E’s electric infrastructure experience to explore the ancillary grid benefits of remote charging.
We are focusing our initial V2G implementation on smart charging. Smart charging is a form of V2G in which the vehicle does not provide power back to the grid. Instead, the vehicle charging rate is controlled remotely in order to support the operation of the grid or to best match load to the availability of intermittent renewable energy resources such as wind and solar. Tesla Motors' goal in developing V2G is to eventually provide our customers with an option that could reduce their cost of electricity for vehicle charging while supporting greater penetration of renewable energy on the grid.—JB Straubel, Chief Technology Officer, Tesla Motors
Tesla Motors will work with PG&E to equip a demonstration all-electric Tesla Roadster with the communications technology that enables intelligent charging. PG&E will also install monitoring equipment at the auto manufacturer’s San Carlos location for testing purposes.
If this demonstration project is successful, and smart charging is deployed on a wider scale, it is expected to be interfaced with PG&E’s SmartMeter technology, which continually reads circuits and electric meter usage and has the ability to provide financial incentives to customers who voluntarily shift electricity usage away from critical peaks.
In addition to partnering with Tesla on V2G research, PG&E is working with the auto manufacturer to support the installation of Tesla Motors’ charging stations into their customers’ homes or businesses. PG&E is working with Tesla Motors to ensure proper connection in its customers’ homes within the utility’s northern and central California service territory and advising the auto manufacturer on its collaboration with utilities nationwide.
PG&E became the first utility in the nation to publicly demonstrate the possibility of electric vehicles to supply homes and business with electricity at a Silicon Valley Leadership Group event in April 2007. (Earlier post.) More recently, PG&E shared this technical expertise with Google in June 2007 to upgrade a number of company-owned Toyota Prius PHEVs to be V2G capable for a demonstration at the company’s Mountain View campus.
“Vehicle-to-grid power implementation: From stabilizing the grid to supporting large-scale renewable energy”; Willett Kempton, Jasna Tomić; Journal of Power Sources Volume 144, Issue 1, 1 June 2005, Pages 280-294
“Vehicle-to-grid power fundamentals: Calculating capacity and net revenue”; Willett Kempton, Jasna Tomić; Journal of Power Sources Volume 144, Issue 1, 1 June 2005, Pages 268-279