America’s electricity grid is quite vulnerable. Recent extreme weather events in states such as Texas and California have caused power disruptions and outages, underlying just how vulnerable the country’s grid has become. With the United States moving toward a more sustainable future, the grid is expected to take on even more pressure as thousands upon thousands of electric vehicles go online.
However, automakers are working hard to ensure that electric vehicles don’t overwhelm the country’s electricity grid via the development of bidirectional charging technology. This technology allows electric vehicle batteries to discharge power back into the grid.
So how exactly can electric vehicles support America’s already strained power grids? Thanks to bidirectional charging tech, EV owners could store power in their vehicles during off-peak hours and discharge it back into the grid during peak consumption hours for some kind of compensation.
California, which recently banned the sale of new gasoline-powered cars beginning in 2035, could significantly benefit from this technology. The ban on new fossil-fuel car sales will undoubtedly speed up the adoption of EVs in the state and encourage other states in their green-energy efforts because California is currently home to the largest electric vehicle market in the country. But while some would say that an influx of EVs will be a detriment to the country’s grid, the increased numbers could instead bolster it and help it weather the increased demand.
People are already using electric cars as energy sources, with some folks relying on EVs for power during the recent power outage in Texas. Utilities are also poised to take advantage of bidirectional charging by allowing homeowners who own EVs to sell excess battery power during peak consumption times. Vehicle-to-grid charging, as it is also called, is a legitimate game changer, California Public Utilities Commission commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen says.
If all the electric vehicles in the state of California were to plug in at the same time and feed power back into the grid, he says, they could essentially act as giant batteries. Rechtschaffen says that utility companies could rely on electric vehicles to reduce stress on the grid during peak consumption hours. This could be extremely beneficial as extreme heat and cold force Americans to turn on their air conditioners and consume more energy.
This technology is still in its infancy, however, with most of the pilot vehicle-to-grid programs being held in Europe. Even so, more automakers are equipping their electrified offerings with bidirectional charging, and experts estimate that the technology could play a major role in our grid in the near future.
For companies in the luxury EV segment, such as Lucid Motors (NASDAQ: LCID), adding bidirectional charging as well as other features that expand the possible uses to which an EV battery can be put is probably easier in comparison to automakers whose single focus is to cut all the frills in order to deliver the most-affordable electric vehicle to the ordinary man on the street.
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