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Returning Power From Electric Cars To the Grid

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the electrifying-news dept.

Power 247

First time accepted submitter icensnow writes "NRG is patenting a means of returning electric power from charged but inactive electric cars to the grid, essentially turning parked electric cars into an energy storage system for the grid. I'm having a hard time deciding if this is genius or silly."

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Silly. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526052)

OK, next question.

(fp?)

Re:Silly. (1)

TWX (665546) | about 3 years ago | (#37526194)

Definitely not genius...

Only application that I can figure for this being anywhere remotely useful would be to use vehicles as generators when grid power is out. To do that safely, there needs to be an Intentional Islanding circuit in the structure's electrical system, so that it can cut off safely from the grid while keeping the structure powered by the generator, in this case, the car.

I doubt that a hybrid vehicle will generate enough power for where I live in the summertime when the power is most likely to fail- where it would have to power an air conditioner and a refrigerator minimally.

Maybe in a cold climate where frequent power outages occur due to ice damage? But most of those customers don't use electricity to heat their homes, so they'd just need enough power to keep the heater controls working, which could be generated by mechanisms off of the furnace itself or using a couple of deep-cycle batteries.

Capital Costs (3, Insightful)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 3 years ago | (#37526310)

So we have a expensive capital good laying around doing nothing most of the time – car batteries.

We have a variable energy source (wind or solar, take your pick) which do not necessary correlate to peak energy usage. If one were to run solely off of these 2, energy companies would have to invest in a lot of batteries, unless

Also, one could delay additional investments into the power grid by levering out the usage, where the energy Is coming from, etc. This assumes you don’t lose too much energy by taking electricity out of the battery again.

Re:Capital Costs (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 3 years ago | (#37526372)

In order to be useful to the electricity company, the company needs to be able to decide when to charge and when to discharge the cars batteries (depending of overall need, and availability of finicky renewable sources).

... and so it just happens that you'll start your holiday trip with almost empty batteries although (or rather: because...) the car was plugged in all night.

==> silly

Re:Capital Costs (0)

durrr (1316311) | about 3 years ago | (#37526708)

Because surely those electrical car batteries would be set to drain until depletion by default because you know, engineers are really fucking retarded and could not at all devise a solution where the car battery can both be used for grid balancing and still be fully charged when you need it in the morning(such as by switching to charge only at 05am and using a 60% depletion limit to give you good use even if you wake up and have to fetch your drunk daughter at 03am).

Were you dropped, form a highway overpass, as a child or what?

Re:Capital Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526792)

So when you have to take someone to a hospital in the middle of the night, or meet them there (i.e. following the ambulance), do you always know which hospital or how far away it's going to be?

No, this is a dumb idea. MAYBE you could get away with using the top 5%. Not 60%.

Re:Capital Costs (1)

delinear (991444) | about 3 years ago | (#37527358)

But then if that's a major concern, buying an electric car without the ability to swap out the battery (or some other mechanism to charge as quickly as filling a tank with diesel) is a stupid move anyway. What happens if you get home with a flat battery and, before you can plug it in to charge, an emergency arises? These are the kind of issues we'll have to find answers to in any event if there's any realistic chance of people switching to electric vehicles, that doesn't mean they invalidate GP's suggestion.

Re:Capital Costs (1)

Duradin (1261418) | about 3 years ago | (#37527008)

Making super short range vehicles have an even shorter range (when you thought you had a "full tank") sounds like a brilliant idea especially when "gas stations" are few and far between and/or take hours to "put a couple gallons" in the tank.

Re:Capital Costs (1)

Man Eating Duck (534479) | about 3 years ago | (#37527244)

In order to be useful to the electricity company, the company needs to be able to decide when to charge and when to discharge the cars batteries (depending of overall need, and availability of finicky renewable sources).

Nevermind the utility companies, I see a couple of use cases for feeding electricity from your car to your breaker box:

1) In case of outages/brownouts. Where I live the power is dependable, I haven't had a non-planned outage in years (the planned ones are infrequent as well). When I lived in Ecuador, however, it was a rare day when we didn't lose power at the office at least once. UPS and generator backup was a must, both in order to be able to work, and to avoid damage to equipment. Laptops would have been an option, but having a huge UPS in the form of an electric car would be nice.

... and so it just happens that you'll start your holiday trip with almost empty batteries although (or rather: because...) the car was plugged in all night.
==> silly

2) I believe that in some places electriciy is generally expensive, but cheaper at night. You could use your car as a buffer in order to exploit the cheaper power at peak times. Mind you, this would have to be a measure for the benefit of each household, as I doubt that people would place their cars at the mercy of the utility company, not least because of the issue you mention about your car being out of battery when you need it, but if you have close control it's easy to avoid those complications. Given enough penetration, this might help to assuage diurnal fluctuations in power availability, providing a secondary benefit to the utility company as well.

Of course it's a cost/benefit problem, as those batteries probably have a limited number of duty cycles, and they aren't exactly cheap. I haven't seen any analysis in this respect, but the idea in itself is not necessarily stupid.

Re:Capital Costs (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 3 years ago | (#37527362)

When reading about the "smart grid" many years ago, they talked about programmable settings. You say by which time you want the battery topped off, the lowest amount of discharge, stuff like that.

The general idea is most cars are parked during peak usage. So, in the middle of the hot day when you're eating your lunch, your car is helping to supply power to the grid. By the time you get out of work, your car is filled back up.

The idea is you also get "credit" for helping. So you actually get some amount of free electricity for helping smooth the load.

In the middle of the night, power usage is the lowest, so that's the best time to charge the car. Again, all customizable. If you don't like it, don't enable it.

Re:Capital Costs (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about 3 years ago | (#37526416)

Hydro electric power uses stored energy (impounded water) to provide electricity when needed. Very reliable. It does, of course, have consequences, for instance the destruction of river habitat and such, but changing river to lake seems to please a lot of people. Not so much the fish, which population changes as these new lakes are repopulated with different species.

Wind/Solar require different forms of storage to be effective. I'm thinking that we may see decentralized batteries in the future if something safe and affordable comes up, but more to the point, even a national 'smart grid' will still have the problem of wanting power when it's needed. For instance, when the East Coast finally goes to bed, the West Coast is 3 hours away from that, so it could potentially receive power from East Coast generators. When the East Coast wakes up the next morning, West Coast generators can get a head start. But for much of the day, there is no off-peak source of power. Regional grids make more sense to me.

And then there's the whole SCADA problem. Whatever controls this national grid is vulnerable, if for no ther reason than it's an attractive target.

If you don't design security in, you lose. We live in a dangrous world, my friends.

Re:Silly. (1)

afidel (530433) | about 3 years ago | (#37526314)

No, the obvious use which I posted about months ago here on Slashdot it to curb local demand during period of reduced grid output. When there is a lull in the wind over a wide area have both conservation methods like decycling AC units, fridges, hot water heaters, baseboard heaters, etc and if that isn't sufficient these electric cars would automatically start back feeding their owners houses. As to cold climates, most of us use forced air heating and so we need a non-trivial amount of power to feed the blower.

Re:Silly. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 3 years ago | (#37527176)

But it's patentability is dubious at best, unless they're patenting something more obscure. Charge/discharge and balancing are inherent physical characteristics of the grid.

Re:Silly. (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 3 years ago | (#37526732)

Definitely not genius...

Na, just state of the art for smart grid technologies ...

Re:Silly. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37526984)

Great way to prove you have no idea what is going on here. These would be used for load balancing the grid, not powering houses. People in areas prone to ice damage, also often have central heat/air, which means if the thermostat works and nothing else they have a hot boiler and a cold house.

Re:Silly. (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37527092)

The bigger issue I see with it is that it would ensure that you would never leave for work with a fully charged battery. Because during the night is when solar power isn't going to be helpful, and during the night is the most likely time for your car to be parked at home.

And I can't imagine anybody agreeing to let the power be borrowed from their car while out and about that would make no sense at all as one would presumably need power to get home.

Not silly (1)

RingDev (879105) | about 3 years ago | (#37526342)

Many parts of the country have different rates for electricity at different points in time.

You could for instance, charge your car over night at a cheap rate, and then on a day when you aren't traveling, use the juice from the car during the day when the rate is higher, or when the power goes out.

-Rick

Re:Not silly (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 3 years ago | (#37527104)

So, when do you take your car out of the garage? The way you describe it, the thing is

plugged in 24/7 functioning as an expensive UPS on wheels.

For my part, 80% of the daytime hours in a week the car is parked someplace other than my home; shall I contribute power back to the grid at my employer's parking lot? I'm sure they'd love the free electricity.

I guess this is one of those "while you're parked in the garage, doing nothing..." things, but I'd hate like hell to discover my spontaneous romantic drive in the countryside with my wife is impossible because my car's been draining itself to feed the household A/C all day.

Re:Not silly (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37527110)

Unless there's a significant difference in the rates, it's probably not going to be worth the wear and tear on the battery and the electricity lost in the process. Plus, you'd have to convert the electricity from AC to DC to store in the battery, then from DC to AC to run those appliances.

Re:Silly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526452)

Definitely NOT silly.

This makes sense for the same reasons that hybrid vehicles make sense - peak shaving. A little research would show you that there is a lot of interest in local storage options in the power grid. When real demand is low, power plants can run at optimum efficiency and charge the local storage. When demand spikes, power can be drawn out of the local stores to reduce or eliminate the need to bring peaking power plants online, or to build more of them.

One car won't make a bit of difference, but you show limited thinking to not consider the possibility of thousands, or tens of thousands, all being able to be drawn from.

It makes sense. It isn't silly. And the ones who look silly are you and TWX.

Re:Silly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526630)

Is peak shaving like peak oil?

I've definitely seen more facial hair around in the last few years.

Re:Silly. (2)

MarkGriz (520778) | about 3 years ago | (#37526544)

Depends on perspective.

Silly, if you own the car.
Genius, if you sell car batteries.

Re:Silly. (1)

mcavic (2007672) | about 3 years ago | (#37526558)

Meaningless. What happens when you want to drive the car and the battery isn't charged because the power has been returned to the grid?

Re:Silly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526834)

Wow, here's a thought! Maybe not discharge the batteries completely?

So simple, maybe you should have thought of it before posting...

Re:Silly. (2)

Tanktalus (794810) | about 3 years ago | (#37526986)

My car has a range of x km, based on a full charge. I need to travel .4x km and back today. The grid took off the top 20% of my battery. Do I make it all the way back into my driveway?

Planning road trips, even if the trip is only downtown and back, gets trickier when you don't know how much energy (range) you have before you climb in to the vehicle. Other trips, of course, are going to be moot - getting to the local grocery store and back is unlikely to be a significant issue.

When we drive a 350km-each-way trip to visit my grandmother, we know exactly where we need to fill on gas. We can plan how long we'll be in the vehicle before mandatory stoppages. We can load up on gas the day before the trip and know how much will be in the tank when we depart the next day.

If the power companies want to shave their peaks, they should provide the power storage. And batteries may or may not be the most effective ways to do that.

Re:Silly. (1)

mini me (132455) | about 3 years ago | (#37527364)

Planned trips are easy:

  1. 1. Open calendar on computer or smartphone
  2. 2. Enter "Going to Grandma's" on tomorrow's date
  3. 3. Car reads calendar and realizes it needs to retain its entire charge overnight
  4. 4. Sharing with the grid is disabled and batteries will be full for you in the morning

Spur of the moment trips are a more difficult problem to solve, granted. There are lots of potential solutions though. Maybe we'll see a network of high powered vehicles in which you can hitch up to on the highway, train style, saving your batter power to travel the last mile. Or maybe we will see power distributed through the roadways so you don't have to worry about access to power at all.

expect transmission prices to go up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526066)

Now smaller energy companies have a way to transmit their electricity to customers by-passing the big company owned power lines.

Delivering power by car (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 3 years ago | (#37526248)

The return pipe to the central steam plant that heated my building broke and due to the terrain it could not be fixed in winter time. So instead the plant engineers had a tanker truck collect the condescend steam outflow from the building and they trucked it back everyday to the steam plant. I was never sure if was genius or absurd but I lean towards absurd. Trucking steam is just one step short of trying to land on the sun at night.

In many cities there is a commute from the suburbs bedroom communities and back everyday, So the place where you charge your car and the place where you sell the electricity back may be geographically different. You are in effect trucking electricity. You might even been trucking it across major grid boundaries. If you live near a border you might even be exporting it. Genius or silly?

Re:Delivering power by car (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 3 years ago | (#37526938)

You might even been trucking it across major grid boundaries.

Considering that the US only has 3 "grid boundaries" or more precisely 3 control areas ... that is a rare event ;D

Re:Delivering power by car (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 3 years ago | (#37526976)

You might even been trucking it across major grid boundaries.

Considering that the US only has 3 "grid boundaries" or more precisely 3 control areas ... that is a rare event ;D

Hardly. there are lots of independent power districts that have their own power and own co-ops. While smaller ones are isolated, The larger ones connect to grids but even there you are still moving power across ownership domains.

Re:Delivering power by car (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 3 years ago | (#37527034)

Sorry, but that I can't believe. Which country do you live?
Grids are very likely only business wise seperated. But not physically. If they would be indeed physically seperated providing power to a larer population would be nearly impossible, you had black outs every day.

Has potential, but... (3, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | about 3 years ago | (#37526082)

This idea is kicked around a lot, and there are some pros and cons.

The intention is obvious: use stored energy in parked vehicles to help smooth spikes in demand and evenly distribute the load on the grid. But the difficulty is that people will want their cars to be charged when they leave work or the train station to head home, and peak demand is usually during those hours. Not only will a lot of cars be getting unplugged right when you need them, but few people will be willing to part with charge they might need to get home.
=Smidge=

Re:Has potential, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526130)

Yes, but with a hybrid you could still use the gas engine. And if the price of electricity is high enough at peak demand, maybe you would get paid more for your stored energy than the fuel it would cost you to drive home?

Re:Has potential, but... (1)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | about 3 years ago | (#37526212)

Not only will a lot of cars be getting unplugged right when you need them, but few people will be willing to part with charge they might need to get home.

It's not just the charge issue. I would be completely and utterly unwilling to lower my battery life through this extreme charge-recharge cycle. Those things are expensive.

Re:Has potential, but... (1)

loshwomp (468955) | about 3 years ago | (#37526426)

. I would be completely and utterly unwilling to lower my battery life through this extreme charge-recharge cycle.

Yawn. We've been over this a million times, but TFA was light on technical detail, so you're forgiven.

It's not an extreme cycle, it would be managed so as to be transparent to the end user (of the vehicle), and you'd get paid handsomely for your (voluntary) participation in amounts TBD, but which would exceed amortized battery wearout cost by roughly an order of magnitude. In any case there are hundreds of dollars per month on the table.

Also: Your traction battery has an inherent calendar life wearout mechanism, so there is no reason to conserve cycle life when calendar life dominates wearout anyway in most practical applications.

Re:Has potential, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37527322)

In any case there are hundreds of dollars per month on the table.

And this money would come from where? Magic money trees??

At a cost of even $0.1/kWh, or $100/MWh, how could I *possibly* get "hundreds of dollars per month"? It is about 25kWh/100 miles. So "hundreds of $$$ per month" means at least 4000 miles of "driving" your battery to just get $100.. and that is assuming your charging current is FREE and 100% efficient, which is neither.

So, if you are willing to increase energy costs by these values, who will pay?? If your assumption that this would be "transparent", so I assume 10% of your battery capacity could be drained. Assuming this is every day, we are talking about 300% of your battery capacity. That is only about x00kWh == "hundreds of dollars"? (where x is an integer from 1-9, 9 being magic super batteries). Even in the most extreme scenario of the magic batteries, we are talking about 1MWh == hundreds of dollars, or multiple times the rate of current energy prices (after inflation).

Quite frankly, this entire scenario does not make any financial sense. It would make more sense saying "aliens will land next year and give us free energy technology" than saying this scheme is financially viable.

Secondly, your scheme of "hundreds of dollars per month" dictates your car cannot cost less than about $100,000, in today's money. I'll leave that as an exercise to the reader.

Your traction battery has an inherent calendar life wearout mechanism, so there is no reason to conserve cycle life when calendar life dominates wearout anyway

HA! Seriously, the problem with current batteries is they will wear out after you charge them everyday for 2 years, never mind 10 years. Adding more charge/discharge cycles will just make this worse.

Re:Has potential, but... (1)

yog (19073) | about 3 years ago | (#37526614)

I agree; I would want my (someday, future) rechargeable electric vehicle to have all its charge available to me at all times. I might want to run out to the 24-hour place for a Ben & Jerries fix at 3AM. Or, more seriously, there might be a medical emergency with a member of my family, or whatever. Who would want to limit their mobility during the off hours? It's like giving up use of your car half the time.

I'd like to see more emphasis on charging cars at work, since the majority use case in the U.S. is people driving to work, parking their car all day in the *sunlight* or inside a garage that is drenched in *sunlight*, then driving home at dusk and leaving it parked all night. There's got to be a way to refill at least a few miles' worth of power during that idle daytime.

Regarding peak power in the home, probably the best way to alleviate strain on the grid is to promote wide use of solar electric power and solar hot water systems. Then, people would be motivated to run their dishwashers and laundry machines during the day, contrary to the current advice which is to run them only at night to save on both power and cooling costs.

Re:Has potential, but... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37527088)

We are talking about reducing the range for minutes at a time and by only 10% or so. Do you keep your gas tank 100% full at all times?

Re:Has potential, but... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 3 years ago | (#37526734)

You are missing the real beauty of this system.
1 . It takes x+n to get a full charge on the battery and they charge you for x+n.
2. When you discharge a battery you x and then convert it to ac you only get x-n power out which is what the power company will credit your account.
3. You will have to pay for x+n again to get back to a full charge.
4. Profit.

Re:Has potential, but... (1)

ProfessorPillage (1964602) | about 3 years ago | (#37527410)

Nope. Either they will be paying you far more than your net loss in charge for the availability, or they will be paying you at far higher retail prices when they buy the power from you than when you are charging the battery. Either way, you're going to make money on it. And the utility will save money by keeping less reserves available, and avoiding use of more expensive generators.

Re:Has potential, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37527240)

I guess it all comes down to the range of the cars, but the potential is there: after all the peak of electricity consumption occurs at dinner time when most people stopped using the car until the next morning, so a model in which what's left on batteries is drained out from 7 to 9pm and then gets recharged during the night (when demand is down and electricity costs a lot less).

smart, but problematic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526102)

It makes sense. With the right algorithms and knowledge about auto usage and owner participation, this could work great with intermittent renewable sources (PV, wind, etc). The biggest issue I currently see is premature wear on the batteries. Sucking just a little from many would likely have minimal impact, but draining half the charge from a battery repeatedly will shorten the battery's effective life.

Both (3, Insightful)

hackertourist (2202674) | about 3 years ago | (#37526104)

It's genius in that it allows load levelling without much investment by the power company, it's silly because the investment will just be moved to the user: Adding one charge cycle per day means that battery life is halved.

The only way this will take off is for users to have a financial incentive to allow the power company to do this, ie the power price during peak demand must be so high that it's cheaper to deplete your EV battery rather than draw from the grid.

Re:Both (2)

ITShaman (120297) | about 3 years ago | (#37526306)

Yeah, it's genius for the electricity generating companies, they can get the car owner to pay for the fuel to generate the electricity to charge their car.

Re:Both (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526548)

My on-peak power price is approximately triple my off-peak power price.

Unfortunately, during peak hours, my vehicle would not be sitting at our house. It would either be on the road, or at my office and about to be on the road. Either way, it would not be a good time to be draining my vehicle battery.

I have considered getting a battery system for the house, buying power at the off-peak rate to charge them and then discharging them during peak hours, but the usage at our house is not high enough for the differential to matter.

Re:Both (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526898)

In peak times the wholesale price [eia.gov] of electricity can be 5-9x more than average. If the power companies were to give you a cut, it could be made to be financially beneficial.

Is it really worth the investment? (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 3 years ago | (#37526108)

It seems like the energy loss of moving energy from the grid to the cars, then back to the grid, could potentially be too great to justify the investment. I would think large arrays of dedicated stationary batteries might be a better choice.

Re:Is it really worth the investment? (2)

skids (119237) | about 3 years ago | (#37526422)

It seems like the energy loss of moving energy from the grid to the cars, then back to the grid, could potentially be too great to justify the investment.

It's offset by the inefficiency of suddenly having to fire up coal plant turbine or keep a gas turbine in spinning reserve mode just to handle a temporary peak. Which is why storage facilities like those built by Beacon Power/A123/VRB systems can turn a profit.

I would think large arrays of dedicated stationary batteries might be a better choice.

No argument there. Car batteries are optimized for weight and the extra electronics for grid feedback are better bought/installed in bulk. A dedicated stationary facility can use battery/storage technology that doesn't have this restriction, and use more efficient power conversion systems designed for larger loads.

Re:Is it really worth the investment? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 3 years ago | (#37526488)

Two mistakes: first, there is not much power loss in returning power from the battery back to the grid. Second: if you have stationary batteries you have not only to buy and install them and attach them to the grid, but you also have to use them to pump energy back to the grid. With a car you can as well use the energy for what it is ment to be used: drive away!

Re:Is it really worth the investment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37527094)

The problem with using cars over a dedicated system is the number of cars available for load balancing is constantly changing. Also when rush hour starts and the least amount of cars are plugged in is the start of the peak electrical usage as everyone gets home and fires up the oven/cooling/TV etc.

Its a nice feel good idea but the practicalities aren't there.

Re:Is it really worth the investment? (1)

loshwomp (468955) | about 3 years ago | (#37526494)

It seems like the energy loss of moving energy from the grid to the cars, then back to the grid, could potentially be too great to justify the investment.

Guess what. Smarter people than you who have actually researched it have come to the opposite conclusion.

I would think large arrays of dedicated stationary batteries might be a better choice.

And what would be different in that case, which is precisely identical except for requiring even more batteries to accomplish the same result, since the fleet of vehicle traction batteries would not be used to their maximum effect?

Re:Is it really worth the investment? (1)

necro81 (917438) | about 3 years ago | (#37526502)

I would think large arrays of dedicated stationary batteries might be a better choice.

How is a parking lot full of EVs not exactly that?

When was it filed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526110)

When did they file the patent application? I heard people at universities and related research projects proposals about it 4 years ago. Granted that that was only talk and rumors, but from people who I might assume had something going on in it. And no, they were not from NRG nor the University of Delaware.

In case you missed it... (1)

bigredradio (631970) | about 3 years ago | (#37526456)

Maybe this [nytimes.com] will clear up the confusion.

Re:When was it filed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526590)

Considering Nissan and Toyota have publicly stated right after the Fukishima earthquake that they would add this to their cars, I don't see how they could file a patent and expect it to stand up.
Also, it's totally obvious. I have a big battery in my electric/hybrid car and my power is out, can I power my house from that big battery?

Batteries (2)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 3 years ago | (#37526118)

The constant charging and releasing of said charge has to be hell on the batteries in the car. Its expensive to get those replaced.

Re:Batteries (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 3 years ago | (#37526758)

most modern batteries die of age rather than cycles, and it's not like they are going to run the cars flat

This raises a question I've always had (2)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#37526132)

Considering how much rechargeable batteries "leak" energy when they sit, does anyone take this into account when they're touting all these great energy savings that electric cars are supposed to provide? I mean, I drive very little. Most of the time my car is just sitting around. But with a gas-powered car, it's not like I'm losing gallons of gas letting it sit for a few days (or even a week). With an electric car, even with one of the newest batteries, I would be losing power even if I'm not driving it, right? Yet I never hear any of these green types addressing that. Just think of all the power that would be wasted just in long-term airport parking.

Re:This raises a question I've always had (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526252)

I don't know much about batteries. However, I do own and drive a hybrid every day.

My hybrid does not plug in. From what I understand it can charge it's battery in one of these ways:

1) gas engine
2) coasting
3) braking

I don't know if my battery somehow loses charge when i'm not driving it. I do know that if it does, it is not noticeable.

If my car is operating properly, the battery charge level is always around 50%. When I leave work at the end of the day, the battery is essentially where it was when I got to work in the morning (IE, if there is a difference I can't notice it).

I drive a 110 mile round trip commute each day and put 1,100 miles on my car every 2 weeks. That's just business driving. That doesn't count personal trips and whatnot.

I can say for certain that if there is a loss in battery charge that my car is still worth it as I'm saving a lot of money in gas. I could not make my commute each day in any other traditional car that I could think of.

With that said, if they can figure out how to take the power from my car without affecting my miles per tank (or compensate me if they do affect it), i'm all for it. Otherwise, get lost.

Re:This raises a question I've always had (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526526)

I don't know much about batteries. However, I do own and drive a hybrid every day.

My hybrid does not plug in. From what I understand it can charge it's battery in one of these ways:

1) gas engine
2) coasting
3) braking

In other words, gas engine.

Re:This raises a question I've always had (1)

afidel (530433) | about 3 years ago | (#37526356)

Modern Lithium chemistries leak 1-5% per month, so no, it's not a significant factor in their environmental impact. And cars without a properly seated cap will lose at least as much gasoline (much less so for diesel, though the vent from our storage tanks can be significant in hot weather).

Re:This raises a question I've always had (1)

loshwomp (468955) | about 3 years ago | (#37526550)

Considering how much rechargeable batteries "leak" energy when they sit

A common misconception, part of the myth and lore surrounding batteries, a la "charge memory" and other BS. Modern lithium traction batteries (i.e. those in cars) do not suffer any significant "self discharge". It's on the order of a few percent per year.

Re:This raises a question I've always had (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 3 years ago | (#37527102)

Considering how much rechargeable batteries "leak" energy when they sit, does anyone take this into account when they're touting all these great energy savings that electric cars are supposed to provide?

Decent (I.E. not consumer grade) rechargeables hardly leak at all. The spare battery for my (semi-pro) camera sits for weeks without losing any noticeable charge at all. On the other hand, the (consumer grade) AA's I use for other purposes have a noticeably short shelf life.
 

Most of the time my car is just sitting around. But with a gas-powered car, it's not like I'm losing gallons of gas letting it sit for a few days (or even a week). With an electric car, even with one of the newest batteries, I would be losing power even if I'm not driving it, right?

Certainly you'll be losing power, the real question is "how much?". You're acting as if it's a significant amount, but not giving any numbers showing whether or not it is.

Re:This raises a question I've always had (1)

Orne (144925) | about 3 years ago | (#37527422)

No, they don't "leak" like transistor gate current or capacitor voltage. Googling around, NiCad batteries have a charge decay of over 2 months (full to empty), but my experience is that almost all electric car batteries are now lithium based, which doesn't appear to have this issue. The Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius, Toyota Highlander all use lithium-ion. Bulk-electric batteries that I've seen are lithium titanate, sodium sulfur, and some weird lead variants.

Battery charge is usually measured by efficiency, which for lithium-ion is about 90%. For every 1 W that you draw from the grid to charge the battery, on average 0.9 W can be discharged to do work (this ratio is actually temperature dependent, cooler = more efficient). The rate of charge (& discharge) / minute does decay over time because of impurities in the anodes, and the total capacity to hold charge decays over time.

Effect on battery life? (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | about 3 years ago | (#37526142)

I've heard a lot that the number one concern over electric (and even hybrid) cars is the life of the battery system. It's extraordinarily expensive to replace, so I'm just not sure that repeatedly charging and draining it during the day a little bit at a time would be worth the possible wear and tear on the battery to justify such a thing. I know there has been a lot of progress towards reducing battery "memory," but still, I couldn't help but think that such a thing would cost me a lot of money a lot sooner than it normally would. Maybe it's just perception and not truth, but if so, I'd think it's a common perception they'd have to work very hard to overcome.

Range Extender and Smaller Battery Pack (1)

lkcl (517947) | about 3 years ago | (#37526474)

there is a common misconception that it's necessary to have a large ultra-expensive highly-polluting rare-earth-metal battery pack. you don't. the conditions for not needing a $25,000 battery pack (worth stealing) are as follows:

* the vehicle weight must be under 550kg (400kg EU Category L7E is perfect)
* low-rolling resistance tyres are essential
* you must be happy with a top speed of 60mph and a top cruising speed of about 55mph
* the frontal area of the vehicle must be no more than 1.5 sqm
* the drag coefficient must be 0.30 or less
* the full drivetrain efficiency must be no less than 80%

under these circumstances, which are perfectly reasonable for most peoples "commuting" needs, you can get away with putting in an off-the-shelf 240/120V AC 5kW or 6kW Diesel Generator and a "Fast Charger" with about 50 Amp output, and that is enough to keep the batteries continuously "topped up" or in fact just to directly drive the Electric Vehicle.

if you try to go BEYOND these circumstances (even putting in a 700kg vehicle) then you get into trouble, because the "Range Extender" now has to be an 8-10kW Diesel Generator, which now weighs 250kg not 100kg, doesn't pull the same level of fuel economy as a 5-6kW Generator (which work out at about 1 Litre per hour), and the exercise is a complete waste. so you have to stick to those conditions, and the maths works out very very well. almost... "too well", to the point where it's hard to believe the MPG figures.

the maths, principle and links to various sites is here: http://lkcl.net/hybrid_electric_vehicle/design_principle.html [lkcl.net]

and there's a discussion here:
http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php/why-there-no-board-generatorsi-p261099.html [diyelectriccar.com]

which if you look back about a week, you'll find a link to a LibreOffice spreadsheet where you can play and plug in your own "vehicle" line and confirm the maths i did, above.

the point is: *if* you do this sort of thing, then yes, large battery packs become irrelevant: you can treat that $500 lead-acid battery pack as a disposable (recyclable) item, and yes, you could even consider running the diesel generator to plug back into the National Grid. personally i think that'd be a bit of a waste of perfectly good Diesel, i'd say, but you could do it.

Re:Effect on battery life? (1)

loshwomp (468955) | about 3 years ago | (#37526644)

IAAEVE (I am an electric vehicle engineer) and I don't know how to combat these misconceptions other than by brute force, over and over again, so here we go:

1) V2G is not adding many cycles to the battery. The value (and thus the money on the table) is primarily for being *available* and for being available instantly. For a utility company, the alternate source of regulation services is to ramp a generator up/or down, and that takes TIME. A fleet of vehicles can respond in milliseconds.

2) The system would be (necessarily, for obvious reasons) transparent to the end user, who would get paid handsomely for (voluntary) participation in amounts TBD, but which would exceed amortized battery wearout cost by roughly an order of magnitude. In any case there are hundreds of dollars per month on the table.

3) Your battery has a calendar life wearout mechanism, and there is no reason to conserve charge cycles when the calendar life wearout would otherwise dominate.

4) Charge "memory" is BS, part of a great cloud of myth and lore surrounding rechargeable batteries. It applied only to Nickel-Cadmium batteries (which have been obsolete for decades) and even then only in very specific pathological cases. It has no bearing on either Nickel-metal (current hybrids) or Lithium batteries (newer hybrids and pure EVs).

Probably `Silly' (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526144)

As it is likely for people to expect their car to be charged to a level at least equal to what it was before they left their car in the parking lot. So unless there is some part where the `users' parking their car get to say at which moment they expect their car to be (re-)charged and ready it will turn out very silly indeed.

If there would be such an option I guess this could work on long-term parking areas, short term parking is most likely too much in scheduling effort to be profitable

As a prius driver (4, Insightful)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | about 3 years ago | (#37526170)

Silly as hell for now.

I can't count how many times I parked my car with my battery being "full". I mean, if surplus energy were such a huge issue then why is Toyota releasing models now you can plug in for extra "fuel efficiency". For hybrids there can't be that much of a demand. I mean, this means I would need to use more gas to charge my car more to get my good fuel efficiency, partially defeating the purpose of the car.

This seems even sillier for pure electric cars. You might as well argue that each home should have a pipeline to gas stations to siphon off their gas, in exchange for money, which you can buy back at the gas stations.

That hybrid and electric car batteries may need tapped enough to use in this system is a more worrying scenario for me. What the bleep is wrong with the local grid that we are that pinched for energy? There are fluke events that make this impractical, or it happens enough which means to me there is something wrong with the regional system that needs fixed. Not my car drained of "fuel".

Now, solar cars (maybe even cars with mini wind turbines?) I can see being part of this if you leave your vehicles outside. Once, if, your battery fills up you can sell surplus energy back as your car could be generating power during non-use unlike current electrics or hybrids.

This is not about you (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526258)

As a Prius driver, obviously this is not relevant to you, because you do not drive an electric car. You drive a gasoline car.

(Unless you've got one of the very latest Priuses, or you've modded your car.)

Re:As a prius driver (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 3 years ago | (#37526628)

Silly as hell for now.

Hm, perhaps you should elaborate more?

I can't count how many times I parked my car with my battery being "full". I mean, if surplus energy were such a huge issue then why is Toyota releasing models now you can plug in for extra "fuel efficiency".

Because plugging your Hybrid into the Grid let you load it for less than a 4th of the price (than burning your own gasoline) and with perhaps 5 to 6 times the efficiency regarding CO2.

For hybrids there can't be that much of a demand. I mean, this means I would need to use more gas to charge my car more to get my good fuel efficiency, partially defeating the purpose of the car.

Sorry, I don't get it. This only would hold true if you would allow the battery to more or less completely depleet so you have to relaod it with gasoline again. Obviously it is _not_ done that way.

This seems even sillier for pure electric cars. You might as well argue that each home should have a pipeline to gas stations to siphon off their gas, in exchange for money, which you can buy back at the gas stations.

The articel and most people miss one important point: being able to regulate how much power a loading car is draining from the grid allows a better power plant controll. Instead of firing up the plant when the demand increases, you throttle the load of the electric car.

That hybrid and electric car batteries may need tapped enough to use in this system is a more worrying scenario for me. What the bleep is wrong with the local grid that we are that pinched for energy?

If you keep your grid like it is, then nothing is wrong. However the grids are changing. E.g. more wind and solar power.

There are fluke events that make this impractical, or it happens enough which means to me there is something wrong with the regional system that needs fixed. Not my car drained of "fuel".

This are not fluke events. Usually a power company knows in advance that wind power will increase, lets say in 2h, and will stay at a higher level for 3h e.g.
During that time energy prices will drop. Electric cars that are not in use, or do not need to be fully charged all the time, will now start loading with that (cheap) surplus energy.

Now, solar cars (maybe even cars with mini wind turbines?) I can see being part of this if you leave your vehicles outside. Once, if, your battery fills up you can sell surplus energy back as your car could be generating power during non-use unlike current electrics or hybrids.

Well in this case it is not the car producing power but the Wind turbine or Solar panel ;D

Bottom line: I'm surprised about this anti technology attitude you see on /. lately so often.

Everything that is new and green is evil .... why?

Re:As a prius driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37527354)

What the bleep is wrong with the local grid that we are that pinched for energy? There are fluke events that make this impractical, or it happens enough which means to me there is something wrong with the regional system that needs fixed. Not my car drained of "fuel".

What is "wrong with the local grid" is that environmental extremists are and have been preventing the building of power plants, mining coal, and drilling for natural gas (and oil). Add to that our increasing population and use of energy consuming devices (flat screen TVs, computers, etc.) This creates energy shortages.

Step 4: Profit? (2)

sureshot007 (1406703) | about 3 years ago | (#37526180)

As long as I get paid for giving electricity back to the power company. Maybe then I could make back the cost of the car by charging it at night at my house, and then plugging it in at work and selling it back at a high cost per kwh.

Don't be silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526244)

The power company will pay you a lot less that it costs you to charge the car.
Are you new here?

Re:Don't be silly (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 3 years ago | (#37526850)

The point is to charge off-peak, when power is cheap, then sell it back on-peak, when power is expensive. If you do it just right, the power company effectively will be paying you something for leveling out their loads.

I say it's silly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526190)

There are much more efficient means of "storing" electrical power than using inactive electric cars. Sounds like a "solution" looking for a "problem"

Electric cars are consumers of electricity. It's not meant to be a power storage device, it's a power consuming device. If you want power storage, capacitor banks do the job nicely, thank you very much.

The thought to having to modify the electric grid and cars to turn them into power storage devices for use by other 'grid' connected devices is absurd. I'm just thinking in terms of technical challenges like mods to car systems (battery, power couplings, etc.) and power coupling systems on the grid, and all the associated costs that would be passed on to the consumer.

Ugh, my head hurts just thinking about all the complications this can cause.

silly/genius (1)

toasted_ry (552521) | about 3 years ago | (#37526196)

I'm going to call it silly for battery powered cars but genius for fuel cell cars.

I see a problem... (1)

Lisias (447563) | about 3 years ago | (#37526206)

Since the current batteries uses lithium-ion or lithium polymer technology, we have the problem of battery life.

These batteries have a fixed number of recharge cycles before needing being recycled. With this idea, some of these recharge cycles will be consumed by the electrical grid. Who pays for it?

Even more, recharging batteries consumes electricity on its own. So, using the car batteries' energy is wasting the energy already used during the battery charging, what is IMHO a waste of resources.

This can be a good idea on emergency situations, however.

Eh? (1)

ledow (319597) | about 3 years ago | (#37526220)

How do you maintain availability of power for the car owner?

Yes, sure, you might be able to harness some from, say, a haulage company at the end of the day when they shut up shop but in general you can't just steal charge from people's electric cars (because the first new-father in the middle of the night that can't drive his wife to hospital is going to create a ton of bad press for you).

So you're basically looking for places that leave stored-charge cars alone, for a significant period of time (enough that they will have a FULL charge by the next time they are needed even after you've discharged them), will never use them in that time, have electric fleets large enough, have the time, money and effort to implement that sort of infrastructure at all the necessary sites (pumping back to the grid requires yet-another meter and converters, surely?) and are willing to let you do so (i.e. you pay them an incentive).

Seems like a business plan from hell, trying to find the profit in that scenario. Seems to me you'll be spending more money on providing the infrastructure to get them back to "fully charged" in time for the morning start than you'll ever gain by using them even at their scheduled downtimes.

Re:Eh? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 3 years ago | (#37526706)

So you're basically looking for places that leave stored-charge cars alone, for a significant period of time (enough that they will have a FULL charge by the next time they are needed even after you've discharged them), will never use them in that time, have electric fleets large enough, have the time, money and effort to implement that sort of infrastructure at all the necessary sites (pumping back to the grid requires yet-another meter and converters, surely?) and are willing to let you do so (i.e. you pay them an incentive).

I'm working right now at a bank. They are split over about 10 buildings in a corner close to the main railway station. The cellar with the car storage is 2 levels deep. Here are roughly 1000 cars "stored" underground which are not used for 9h every day. Some people work from 6:00 to roughly 15:00 and the others from 9:00 to roughly 18:00. There is plenty of options to use those cars. Especially if the bank would own them and "rent" them to the employees.
Many big companies provide business cars to their employees and the employees always park the car over daytime on a company parking ground.

Seems like a business plan from hell, trying to find the profit in that scenario.

That should not concern you, as it is the business of the power companies ;D

Keep in mind: if you have a station where you can charge your car, it is only a little bit more money to be able to uncharge it and feed it to the grid.

Re:Eh? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37527368)

Here are roughly 1000 cars "stored" underground which are not used for 9h every day. Some people work from 6:00 to roughly 15:00 and the others from 9:00 to roughly 18:00. There is plenty of options to use those cars. Especially if the bank would own them and "rent" them to the employees.

That's great. Except when I want to go shopping at lunch-time or when I have to drive a customer to the airport or when I get a call to say my girlfriend had an asthma attack and I have to collect her from the medical clinic.

Keep in mind: if you have a station where you can charge your car, it is only a little bit more money to be able to uncharge it and feed it to the grid.

Keep in mind: if I've plugged my car into a charging station it's because I want to be sure it's charged the next time I need to use it.

Re:Eh? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 3 years ago | (#37527048)

So you're basically looking for places that leave stored-charge cars alone, for a significant period of time

Cop cars at the donut shoppe.

Conversion loses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526234)

So the utility company sells you 10 kW of power to charge your car, 2 kW is lost in the conversion process from grid to car (assuming 80% efficiency). You sell back your 8 kW from the car to grid and 1.6 kW is lost (assuming 80% efficiency). You just paid for 5.1 kW that was lost. So the utility company is getting paid to generate more power, they don't need to build bigger facilities to offset peak demand, and they don't need to pay for loses in the storage if that energy? No wonder NRG jumped on board.

Re:Conversion loses (1)

haruchai (17472) | about 3 years ago | (#37526572)

They don't sell you kilowatts - it's kilowatt-hours.

Car owners will store little unneeded energy (1)

clickforfreepizza (2465094) | about 3 years ago | (#37526284)

If I know I won't need my car, I probably will not have charged it (so that it doesn't leak energy). I will usually only have energy to spare if I mistakenly suspected I would need the car.

Also, we will have more electric cars, and therefore probably more choice in electric cars. Batteries will remain quite expensive. Consequently, people will on average by batteries that are just large enough.

moD up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37526344)

save Linux from a Love of two is To the politicaaly simple solution

Prior art? (1)

snowtigger (204757) | about 3 years ago | (#37526418)

This was discussed on slashdot in 2007:
http://tech.slashdot.org/story/07/07/27/2312257/toyota-unveils-plug-in-hybrid-prius#comments [slashdot.org]

And it's not a very good idea:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/02/automobiles/02POWER.html [nytimes.com]
"The V2G potential of Honda’s full hybrid vehicles is unexplored, but the company is doubtful of using them to power homes. “We would not like to see stresses on the battery pack caused by putting it through cycles it wasn’t designed for,” said Chris Naughton, a Honda spokesman. “Instead, they should buy a Honda generator that was made for that purpose.”

Prior Art? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 3 years ago | (#37526450)

I really wonder if they live in an Ivory Tower or whether the US patent sysem is indeed that retarded.

After all research projects regarding this are up to 20 years old and working examples exist since far over 10 years.

Dumb is more like it (1)

ZeroSerenity (923363) | about 3 years ago | (#37526566)

Sure. Let's go ahead and return the power of a charged battery to the grid and when the owner gets in to drive to work and sees there's no juice, he'll love how he's returned it to the grid.

Not gonna work. (2)

whitelabrat (469237) | about 3 years ago | (#37526626)

I thought the point of having an electric car was to avoid using gasoline? If I have a drained battery at the end of the day and you assume that I have a combustion engine as a standby, I'd have to use petroleum to get home. FAIL. If the car is electric only and relies on the grid to charge, I'd end up walking home. FAIL.

Now if we were talking about some sort of super capacitor that can drain and then be quickly replenished this may have a useful effect to normalize daytime power usage, but only for short durations. An extended drain would be unacceptable. I don't think the monetary reimbursement would entice folks at all because vehicular range is king.

Overall I think this wouldn't work well.

It's called "Demand Response" (1)

Shoten (260439) | about 3 years ago | (#37526810)

Okay, so here's the deal. The power grid has to be built to support peak load, not average. If there are three days out of an entire year where the customers of a power company use more power than the whole rest of the year, then that power company has to build out their infrastructure to support the demand of those three days. There are some exceptions to this, based on energy trading from neighboring sections of the grid, but since peak demand is usually driven by time of day and current weather, you can't count on the exceptions to save you. (If it's a heat wave where you are in San Antonio at 3 PM and everyone is cranking their AC, it's probably also a heat wave in Houston, where it is also 3PM and everyone is cranking their AC as well...so if you're at peak capacity, so are they in all likelihood.) Additionally, many sources of "load" (aka power consumption) come on without warning, like factories with large units like smelters, furnaces, and so on. Power generation plants have a degree of inertia; they don't just instantly go from operating at 50% of capacity to a higher level...it takes time for them to get there. Think of it as being like throttle response in a car, only a bit slower. Some plants spin up faster than others, but the faster ones are smaller (on-demand gas turbine generators are a perfect example), and more expensive in terms of cost per KWh. And finally, if you look at the distribution of load over the course of a 24-hour day, you'll see that the load is OVERWHELMINGLY concentrated during daylight hours...which makes the "build for peak" challenge all the harder on the power companies.

So, what is being talked about here is one of many technologies intended to help with "demand response," which is the term for the methods by which a power company can deal with sudden increases in load, or alternatively ways to help smooth out the 24-hour cycle of load/demand, so that they don't have to spend quite so much on generation capacity that goes unused 50% or more of the time. People aren't looking at these cars as a fundamental power source to run the grid; it's more like a shock absorber for the grid, so that when that plant with the furnace turns the damned thing on at 3PM on an August afternoon in Texas when it's already 105 degrees in the shade, it won't result in a brownout...or require that the power company spend half a billion dollars on another demand generator just in case.

horse before the cart (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 3 years ago | (#37526868)

I've heard this over and over again and usually from utility company representatives and it's a waste of time, money and effort. I think it's more of a public relations thing than anything else since there are not enough electric cars on the market or projected to make a difference.

Why do you never read or hear anyone mention the number if vehicles required to have enough capacity to be meaningful? It's a waste of time and if anything just another way Utility companies to get funding from Public Utility Commissions, etc.

In the mean time, all they have to do is make sure the charge plug allows power flow in both directions. Everything else can be added to the grid tied inverter so nothing has to be done to the car system at all.

a big waste of money and effort IMO.

LoB

Re:cart before the horse (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 3 years ago | (#37526894)

doh! cart BEFORE the horse

LoB

well (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#37526876)

It's genius if they manage to get the patent, but it's silly because lots of people have prototype systems already, like Nissan/Renault.

Done right, this is a great idea (1)

haruchai (17472) | about 3 years ago | (#37526932)

Assuming this is voluntary or fairly priced, this can alleviate several problems that the grid faces. First there's no need to drain the battery completely and the rate at which power is to be fed back to the grid is adjustable. If the utility uses a bid-and-offer system, you can decide at what price to sell; if the offer isn't worth what you think for the fairly minor reduction in battery life, then don't sell.
All of this can be automated and the benefits for absorption / mitigation of intermittent sources and peak-shaving are tremendous.

Rethink the Grid (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 3 years ago | (#37526950)

I think it is time to really rethink the grid...
We are starting to have technology of cheap and less environmental impact technologies that can power a few houses. Perhaps the grid should be cut back and in favor to small community power sources.

erm, wasn't this news ten years ago? (1)

binford2k (142561) | about 3 years ago | (#37527146)

wasn't this news ten years ago? The point isn't as an energy SOURCE, but as energy storage for a buffer. If you recall the periodic demand cycle for power, you'll quickly see why this is beneficial. You get energy storage right where it's needed without having to transmit it over miles of overloaded grid.

How do I get paid? (1)

6Yankee (597075) | about 3 years ago | (#37527166)

If the charging point is at my home, it's (probably) my car that's plugged in. But a public point at the railway station or the office?

Are all the charging points now going to have to recognise my car or take a swipe card if I want to be paid? (Cue the 1984 posts.)

it could work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37527180)

if the battery was provided by the power company (or rented, like hot water tank) that way they can charge/uncharge your battery at peak hour, if the battery doesn't keep the charge anything they could exchange it with a new one.

just a though

Not a bad idea. (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | about 3 years ago | (#37527230)

If a car is, say, irreparably damaged or even just in storage for the winter, I can see a point to this - using it purely as storage. But you have to wonder how much extra storage this would really amount to (every little bit helps, I suppose) and how much of the battery's lifetime is killed.
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