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California ISO publishes roadmap for integrating EVs into grid

Summary of the path to enable EVs to provide grid services. Source: CA ISO. Click to enlarge.

The California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) has released a blueprint for integrating electric vehicles (EVs) into the grid: “California Vehicle-Grid Integration Roadmap: Enabling Vehicle-based Grid Services”.

The VGI blueprint outlines three inter-dependent tracks to assess how consumer use of electric vehicles could benefit electric reliability, and to determine policies and technologies necessary to elicit that value through appropriate market signals for a more reliable, sustainable electric grid.

In 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order setting a target of 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on California roads by 2025. To realize this goal, the Governor’s Interagency Working Group on Zero-Emission Vehicles published a ZEV Action Plan. The Plan assigned the ISO to lead the coordinated roadmap effort in collaboration with the California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, the California Air Resources Board, the Governor’s office and industry stakeholders.

The VGI Roadmap accomplishes one of the ZEV Action Plan activities—mapping a way to develop solutions that enable EVs to provide grid services while still meeting consumer driving needs.

Creative approaches identified in this roadmap are expected to lead to EV charging behavior that is beneficial or at least not adverse to grid reliability. This roadmap also promotes the aggregation of EV resources that can be bid into the ISO’s wholesale market as grid services—leveraging the synergies between EVs and the grid.

Vehicle electrification and smart grid technology implementation present an opportunity for EVs, through charging strategies and aggregation, to support and provide valuable services to contribute to reliable management of the electricity grid. At a minimum, managed or smart charging strategies are needed to ensure that EVs do not increase peak load, requiring additional generation or capacity expansions. Ideally, charging is coordinated with grid conditions and the ability for aggregation of EVs to respond to grid operator signals. The VGI Roadmap provides a high-level plan to enable this combination of activities.

—VGI Roadmap

The roadmap is organized in three inter-dependent tracks:

  1. Determine VGI value. This track will determine the value and increase understanding of market potential for grid services enabled by VGI. This value determination will support how program developers and operators define VGI programs and facilitate industry investment decisions. Articulating value based on use cases is critical in Track 1.

    The track activities include articulating VGI impacts to the electricity system, identifying and quantifying VGI value streams and cost components, and estimating VGI market potential for various VGI use cases.

  2. Develop enabling policies, regulations, and business processes. This track includes activities to define wholesale and retail products and programs and associated policy. The program development will identify how VGI resources will interact with the grid at the distribution and wholesale levels, including compensation. It also includes clarifying settlement processes and defining signal and messaging interactions.

  3. Support enabling technology development. This track includes activities to develop enabling technology including standards that support VGI aggregation, communication, and control requirements. Enabling VGI technology will facilitate EV aggregations to support grid services as articulated in the use cases. Policymakers, grid operators, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) must coordinate to enable VGI use cases that include two-way power flow.

The roadmap builds upon efforts already underway in both the private and public sectors to enable EV aggregations. Coordinating EV charging with grid conditions and providing a mechanism for EV aggregators to respond to the ISO’s market signals will maximize benefits gained from use of EVs. Relevant policy proceedings involving California and the ISO will contribute to this effort.

This roadmap is the first step toward defining future steps toward meeting the goal of EV aggregations contributing to grid reliability. Continued outreach is critical to the success of this roadmap and of VGI development in California. As next steps, the VGI working group expects to hold additional workshops to confirm approaches to prioritizing efforts in the VGI roadmap.

The Energy Commission will schedule annual workshops starting in 2014 to review progress on research and demonstration projects relating to VGI, such as the V2G pilots with the Department of Defense and VGI research under the new Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program. The workshops will also solicit stakeholder feedback on the direction of research, and will help integrate the role of publicly-owned utilities in VGI development. VGI activities will also be discussed in workshops for the Statewide Plug-in Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan, and the findings related to VGI will be integrated into the Plan. These workshops will also reach out to the California’s publicly-owned utilities (POUs) to ensure the POUs are aware of these VGI activities as they implement their portion of the Governor’s ZEV Action Plan.

—VGI Roadmap



The time has come to plan for massive deployment of BEVs (and PHEVs with ICE or FC range extenders) and FCEVs.

Simultaneously, electricity and H2 production and distribution facilities must be adapted to rising needs.

On board batteries could become e-grid load levelers.


Of the 3 basic EV technologies - BEV,PHEV,FCEV - PHEV offers by far the most advantages and benefits, including a seemingly counter-intuitive capacity to reduce energy/fuel consumption more than BEV & FCEV.

PHEVs carry a single, suitcase-size battery pack that offers a limited all-electric driving range of 10-30 miles. This 'smaller' battery pack offers the most practical arrangement for more households to plug-in and complement a utility grid. Rooftop photovoltiac solar arrays are the more ideal match with PHEVs.
PHEVs are applicable to the broader range of vehicle class weight and conversion. PHEVs can utilize various bio-fuels and hydrogen stored more readily at lower pressure.

BEVs carry a 2,3,4,5 and larger suitcase-size battery packs which present a much heavier load on utility grids and ultimately require new sources of power generation, mostly fossil fuels & hazardous nuclear.

FCEVs, like BEVs, offer a driving range of 70-200 miles which lulls motorists into believing that current and predicted growth of routine long-distance driving presents no negative affects upon the environment, upon our economic structures and societal culture.

Automobile technology purists consider the ICE in a hybrid drivetrain as a continuation air pollution, but the greater problem is driving itself. PHEVs offer the greater economic incentive to drive less, walk and bicycle more, implement and patronize mass transit as fundamental travel modes that should not be neglected whilst ogling nifty super-keeno electric cars stuck in traffic.

Patrick Free

Great initiative from California again. Considering the huge amount of Electrical energy wasted today at low consumption hours, current grid sources just feeding EV batteries at these low times, then using them as local power sources at peak times, should be a lot more effective than today grid, at the end delivering a lot more valuable used power for same amount of power produced... This just requires some level of communication between the grid and the EVs, via the Power link they use to connect, or in paralel if truely not possible via same link.
Then I'm with Sirkulat that PHEV have the best potential for humans who are interested by full car replacement EVs of the future, and not just 2nd car EVs limited to local commutes. But I would put the battery size a little bigger for them, like >40KWH, to ensure #150M full EV range, w/ enough instant power to move to a Tesla-like "electric only drive train", where only the electric motors ever tract the car directly, so it can get rid of huge central engine with huge central gearbox and Transmission... (the ICE engine being only used as Power Generator), to pay for that greater battery pack, that the grid could leverage a lot better vs current <25KWH that represent a full day of average range, and that grid needs to ensure will be delivered at the end of each night charge (pat home) or day charge (parked at work) in any case.

Patrick Free

Problem I see is linked to Battery wearing, that will require some sort of compensation for the people who accept to give the control to the grid they connect to. If during a night, instead of just charging my battery once and move to stand by when completed, the Grid starts by discharging it further to pass its peak time with that help, then charging it only at low consumption times, and may be not fully at the end, the number of charge/discharge cycles hence the wearing will increase. Compensation may be simplefor that assuming some limits are set not to kill my battery too rapidly. It could be to set an electricity price th

Patrick Free

It could be to set an price for electricity that works both ways "fairly", and is much higher at peak times, and much lower at low consumption times, so the EV users who agree to let the control of charge/discharge cycles to the grid, hence accept faster wearing of their battery, are properly rewarded by the grid for that service and at the end have a lower cost for their electricity consumed, properly balancing extra battery wearing costs overtime, and helping them fund larger battery sizes that will be more comfortable for the grid to play with. Assume a 40KWH Battery pack, the grid commits that at 7am every morning it will be at least charged for >25KWH in any case, assuming it stays connected all night long from <10pm for ex, then the grid could make a better usage than with an EV of 25KWH requiring same 25KWH at the end of each charge.


The Plug-in hybrid ICE can be a lifesaver during a grid failure. With a battery-only BEV, there's no means to recharge when the grid goes down. PHEVs are more practical at all times in regions which experience sub-freezing winter temperatures. Limited all-electric operation (10-30 miles) creates an economic incentive to drive less, to promote biofuel industries, etc.

My philosophical perspective devises the means to utilize EV technology without its use becoming excessive. When a PHEV's single suitcase-size battery pack has reached its limit (say 100,000 miles in 10 years), its use can be extended as a stationary power source for low-power household electric appliances/electronics. Also remember that the larger the Lithium-ion battery pack, the greater risk of fire, and the higher cost to replace.


An affordable, light weight (under one tonne) PHEV with a smaller (10 to 15 kWh) = ($2,000 to $3,000) battery pack and a small (5 to 10 KW) = ($2,500 to $5,000) FC range extender would sell?


1.5 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on California roads by 2025

If by ZEV you mean EV and FCV, that probably won't happen. There will not even be ONE million EV/FCVs registered in California in 10 years.

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