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Someday soon a car could power your home, say PG&E, Ford and General Motors

edited March 8 in Other Investing
I'm not sure how or if THIS LINK will work for non-subscribers to the SF Chronicle, but the news article content is fascinating to me, and I'd like to share it if possible.

Some excerpts:
The automobile could become an unlikely crucial new backstop for keeping the lights on in an era of more frequent wildfires, hotter heat waves and aging power infrastructure in California.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and General Motors announced Tuesday that the companies are in the early stages of developing a system for people to electrify their homes using vehicle batteries — it’s the latest corporate collaboration exploring this new use for the largest battery most people own. And it could minimize power disruptions from rolling blackouts or emergency shutoffs during dangerous weather.

Last year, Ford Motor Co. and San Francisco-based solar installer Sunrun announced the debut of an all-electric pickup capable of electrifying a house. Scheduled to be available later this year, the Ford F-150 Lightning is advertised as being able to provide power to a home for up to three days on a fully charged battery, or longer if power is rationed.

The idea for using electric vehicles as emergency power sources first came about in Japan during the nuclear disaster of 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. With communities turned to rubble, gasoline became scarce, but electric cars were crucial for moving emergency responders, refugees and supplies.

Japaneses automakers soon after began manufacturing electric vehicles with two-way charging systems capable of stepping in during emergency power outages,but that technology hasn’t yet reached United States consumers.

Most electric vehicles already have the capacity to be sources of power, said Rick Spina, General Motors’ vice president of electric vehicle infrastructure. What’s needed is further development of battery software and hardware to bring that power into the home.

The system the company is developing will include safeguards so people can control the outflow and ensure the battery retains enough of a charge so they can drive a certain amount of miles. That could be essential during an emergency, Spina said.

Vehicle batteries could become a linchpin for solar power during emergencies, said James Bushnell, an energy economist at UC Davis.

Comments

  • Very interesting indeed. The article states that the concept hasn't reached the US yet but if I've got my mind right some truck commercials show the vehicle's lighting up a home and/or being used as a source of electric power for new home construction in the boonies. I might be able to move out of my igloo yet.
  • @Mark : thanks for pointing out truck commercials. I also remember those from the boob tube .
  • Great; it only makes sense.

    So PG&E would sell or rent the home hardware for the system? (Count me as ever suspicious of a utility's agenda. Mine has been trying so hard for years to make net metering uneconomic for the home/business owner, and only a popular uprising every legislative session has stopped them.)
  • @AndyJ- Hello there- I wouldn't waste too much thought on PG&E's specific role in this concept as they now see it. I'm certain that they'll try to structure the setup to their own maximum advantage, but whatever they're thinking now will likely not be what the final deal looks like.

    PG&E is also working hard on sabotaging the net metering concept. Say- you don't suppose by any chance that these utilities are talking to each other about of all of this, do you?

    OJ
  • edited March 8
    @OJ - They mostly do their talking through ALEC, and have been working on it for a long time. From a 2013 Huffpo article:

    "In the latest attempt to rollback pro-clean energy policies, fossil fuel and utility interests operating through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are proposing new model legislation to slow the rise of the clean energy industry by weakening net metering policies. ALEC released the new model language on their website prior to the group's "States and Nation Policy Summit" scheduled for early December."

    I'll stop now since it's off your topic. Thanks for the headsup on the new approach.

    AJ
  • edited March 8
    Ah, the fine hand of Koch et al. What a surprise!
  • edited March 8
    Here's another version of the story that I just came across from NPR. (Same general info.)
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