Here's a novel idea to ponder: One day, your car could be the power source for your home electrical work. That's right, electric cars are being primed to send electricity from their batteries back into the home and even to the electric grid. They aren't full-time power sources, of course, but cars do have the potential to get you through a power outage and even help you save money on your electric bills. Read on to find out how.
Upending the Human-Car Relationship
The typical relationship between electric cars and our home electrical work is a one-way street – you fill up the car's battery from a home charging station, a process that takes hours. However, new fast-charging technology that is becoming available has a second intriguing function: it also allows the car to discharge electricity into the home. Nissan has already developed a system that would allow the car to hook up to home electrical work and keep it running in an emergency.
The battery in the Nissan Leaf holds enough energy to power a typical home for about 24 hours, longer if you take energy conservation measures. It won't keep the power on forever, but it's enough to keep the lights on and the fridge cold for a while during an outage. Even more impressive, since cars are, after all, mobile, the autos could be driven to areas in need of power in the event of a black-out to help with emergency services.
Smoothing Out Demand
The next step would be to use cars to actually sell electricity back to the grid. In a twist on time-of-day pricing, in which electricity costs more during the day and less at night, manufacturers envision a day when our cars are used as giant storage batteries, soaking up electricity at night when it's cheap and then discharging it back to the grid during the day to help even out demand and reduce bills at the same time.
With the right technology in place, utility companies could control exactly how much electricity comes and goes from plugged-in cars. This could reduce expenses dramatically, because it costs a bundle to bring on incremental power sources to meet extra demand during the day.
A Vision of the Future
This futuristic vision of the electrical grid isn't here yet, but the technology already exists. As more and more electric cars hit the road, we get closer to realizing their potential as mobile power storage devices as well as human transportation vehicles.
To find out if your home is suitable for an electric car charging station, call a local electrician today.