Last year what seemed like doom and gloom for the automobile industry may all change with the introduction of the first 'vehicle-to-grid' or V2G automobiles rolling off of Toyota's assembly line. After a tumultous setback this past month, Toyota is rebounding from their acceleration problem caused by an electronic throttle malfunction with the introduction of...no, not a talking car that speaks in five languages... a car that will actually pay you for parking it and plugging it into the grid!
Imagine a day when millions of people are driving around in plug-in electric vehicles (EVs). Each of those cars has a battery. Each of those car owners has to plug into the grid to charge the battery.
So why not create a system where cars plug into the grid to charge their batteries and where utility companies can use those batteries to store excess electricity or draw out electricity when demand on the grid is high? And pay the car owners for that power! WOW - what a concept!
Well, it looks like the new Toyota Scion xB is going to make that future a reality. Shown at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science here is the first electric car to be linked to a power grid and serve as a cash cow. Ken Huber, head of development at electricity co-ordinator PJM Interconnection, said: "This is the first vehicle paid to participate in the grid."
vehicle-to-gridWhen the grid needs more power due to a surge in demand, power companies usually draw from traditional power plants, which in the United States are often coal-fired and leave a large carbon footprint.
When V2G becomes more widespread, the power could be drawn from millions of vehicles plugged into sockets in home garages or from commercial fleets, such as the U.S. Postal Service's vans, for a much smaller footprint than that of the power plants.
Toyota Scion xB electric carGrid management companies like PJM Interconnection currently pay around $30 an hour when taking power from a car.
So, dear reader, think about this as the price of crude oil continues to escalate. Instead of shelling out a week's salary at the pumps, you can actually get paid the next time you park and hook your car up to the grid! Man, that's better than having a talking-car... oh yeah, we already have those!