The Grid Accomodates The Future

We mentioned yesterday what we consider to be one of the most concrete and advanced step in the right direction to accommodate the infrastructure for the electric demand of EVs and PHEVs.  We stumbled on more concrete news here.

A project funded by the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory will test bidirectional battery chargers and “smart” grids that could prevent U.S. electric grid from overload by accomodating different EVs and PHEVs.  News like this make us believe we are firmly working towards enabling electric vehicles into our everyday lives.

So what does it mean? Anticipating the huge strain on the U.S. electric grid from the swarm of EVs and PHEVs, Ecotality is working on ways to test battery-charging technology in order to meet tomorrow’s electric demands.  Ecotality is best known for its work on Hydrogen in buses and it is an off-shoot from the NASA space projects where hydrogen find its place.

Working with a company called V2Green, they are developing a “smart” electric grid technology to allow charging stations to control the flow of electricity between EVs and PHEVs batteries charging and the electric grid.  In a nutshell, the idea is to develop a system that would recharge electric vehicles with battery-charging stations, store energy there to recharge in 10 minutes whenever.  This goes back to what we were talking about yesterday, taking electricity from the grid off-peak and giving it back for peak hours.

This is essentially how we will allow the grid to tolerate such demands, especially during the peak hours and season, such as summer days when it is heavily taxed.  Also this could lessen the probabilities of black-outs, or at the very least brown-outs having researves stored across the country.  The funny thing is that this technology exists already throughout Europe with its electric train systems.  As trains climb up steep hills and mountains, as in Switzerland, France and Italy, they draw on the cantenaries for energy but as they descend, they push back the excess electricity accumulated from the locomotives engines back into substations.  In a certain way, we would be doing the same thing with cars.