Volkswagen is Exploring Ways to Use its EV Batteries to Power the Grid
The auto industry's shift to electric cars is opening up new business opportunities in battery development, the building of EV charging infrastructure, and energy storage, so that EV drivers can charge their vehicles with 100% renewable energy.
German automaker Volkswagen is exploring new ways to use its electric vehicle batteries as a power storage device when the cars are not in use, a business currently dominated by utilities and energy companies, chief strategist Michael Jost said on Thursday. The company's plans were reported by Reuters.
Jost said that electric car batteries could be used to stabilize the energy grid by charging the battery in times of excess supply and selling electricity back to the grid at times when supplies of electricity from wind and solar power are low.
The technology is known as vehicle to grid (V2G), where energy stored in electric vehicles helps supply energy at times of peak demand.
This energy method is also being looked at by operators of EV charging sites, using power storage units to store energy for charging vehicles when demand for electricity is lower. During times of peak demand, EV drivers can power their vehicles from stored energy instead of from the grid.
Volkswagen anticipates it will have massive amounts of energy available from the batteries of hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles it plans to build over the next decade.
"By 2025 we will have 350 gigawatt hours worth of energy storage at our disposal through our electric car fleet. Between 2025 and 2030 this will grow to 1 terawatt hours worth of storage," Jost told journalists in Berlin.
"That's more energy than is currently generated by all the hydroelectric power stations in the world. We can guarantee that energy will be used and stored and this will be a new area of business."
The German carmaker is not alone in looking into this field. German utility E.ON has been working with Japanese carmaker Nissan to develop so-called vehicle-to-grid (V2G) services.
Electric automaker Tesla has turned energy storage into a seperate business, selling its Powerpack and Powerwall energy storage products to businesses and homeowners. Tesla's Powerwall combined with solar panels can store enough energy to power a typical home for an entire day.
Volkswagens EV batteries can supplement the grid in the same way and help reduce the costs of electricity.
Volkswagen is getting ready to launch its first of many new electric models this year. The first model is the ID.3. The car is expected to be popular due to its lower price.
The basic version will cost less than 24,000 euros ($27,000) in the automaker's home country of Germany. With additional incentives factored in, the 1D.3 will cost around the same price as a combustion engine model, so Volkswagen expects there will be plenty of electric vehicles for the V2G technology.
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