Connection - Vehicle-to-Grid Technology Could Make EVs an Asset to the Power Grid

The debate around the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) has often centered on the burden the shift will put on the power grid, both in terms of overall load and particularly peak load. Those concerns amplify risks to grid stability and sufficiency, the ability to meet summertime spikes in power demand, and the need to accommodate a growing share of power generation from renewable sources such as wind and solar. Now, the introduction of bidirectional charging and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology — both of which are just beginning to enter the conversation around EVs — is likely to make the discourse even more complicated and interesting. In today’s RBN blog, we explain the basics of V2G tech, some ways in which it could one day add strength and reliability to the power grid, and some barriers to wider adoption.

We first looked at EVs and their effect on the power grid in Electric Avenue, laying out the basics about charging infrastructure and the challenges that wider EV adoption will pose for the California and Texas  energy and power markets. In our One Shining Moment series, we looked at the sudden burst of attention that EVs have received this year, the impact of higher gasoline prices on the EV market, and how the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is incentivizing automakers to make more EVs in the U.S.

One of the hottest EVs in the market today is the Ford F-150 Lightning, the iconic brand’s first all-electric pickup. Ford said it planned to produce 40,000 vehicles/year when it was unveiled in May 2021 but boosted that target to 150,000/year less than a year later. Ford has said that demand was two to three times more than expected and that it already had reservations for more than 200,000 vehicles. And it’s not hard to see why even die-hard truck-lovers are signing up. The base model’s 426-horsepower output is more than a top-of-the-line 3500 Ram, Silverado, or F-350. It has a reported range of 320 miles — more than enough to comfortably drive from Dallas to Houston — alleviating some of the range anxiety. And, as we’ll get to later, for areas where backup power generation is highly sought after due to natural disasters, the Lightning’s bidirectional capability could be a lifesaver.

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