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California Releases Vehicle-Grid Roadmap

Building better batteries isn’t the only way that the cost of a plug-in-electric vehicle can be lowered. Finding more uses for the batteries that are already in the vehicles is another way to lower costs. California just released a plan that explores one way to do that. The “Vehicle-Grid Integration Roadmap” is a blueprint for allowing electric vehicles to store energy for the grid and sell it back when that electricity is needed.

Of course, the main driver behind the Roadmap is to allow California’s electricity network to handle the plug-in electric portion of the 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles that will be on the road in California by 2025 if the state’s target is realized. Its purpose is to “lead to EV charging behavior that is beneficial or at least not adverse to grid reliability,” says the Roadmap.

That doesn’t mean that consumers can’t benefit as well, however. “In the big picture, the Roadmap should mean consumers are able to operate EVs at lower cost because the cost will be divided between the use for transportation and the use for grid support,” said Tom Gage, CEO of EV Grid.

The Roadmap also gives a nod to consumer benefits: “Eventually, two-way interfaces between the EVs and the bulk power network could benefit both EV users and the grid at-large,” it says.

Gage is a pioneer in the vehicle-to-grid field. EV Grid operates a fleet of BMW Mini E all-electric vehicles that are currently selling electricity back to the grid. Other micro projects are also underway around the country.

The California plan envisions such activity on a large scale, however. It was drafted by the California Independent System Operators Corp. (ISO) with collaboration the Governor’s office, the California Energy Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Air Resources Board.
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