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Electric Car Answers the 'Call of the Grid'

In a demonstration of V2G sponsored by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an electric vehicle plugged in at FERC headquarters and received power dispatch commands from PJM, the regional grid operator.

Published: 29-Oct-2007

Electric power customers in Washington DC may not have noticed, but they participated in the world’s first public demonstration of real-time vehicle-to-grid (V2G) today. In a demonstration of V2G sponsored by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an electric vehicle plugged in at FERC headquarters and received power dispatch commands from PJM, the regional grid operator. The commands were linked to the vehicle through a communication package developed by PHI and University of Delaware. The vehicle, an AC Propulsion eBox EV, responded to the commands by charging or discharging its battery in short bursts that helped to balance supply and demand of power on the grid.

The eBox was receiving the same power commands as major power stations throughout the region, and it responded as they did only with smaller amounts of power. V2G has been demonstrated before, but never with actual real-time commands from the grid.

The one-car demo today had no material effect on the grid, but it demonstrated how electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids may become an integral part of the electric power distribution system. When thousands of vehicles are plugged in for charging, they can, at the same time, serve as a “battery on the grid” rapidly buffering supply and demand to help improve the reliability and efficiency of grid operation. Their combined buffering effect can also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by better utilizing solar and wind energy generation that can vary from minute to minute and hour to hour.

The benefits of V2G for the grid are compelling, but drivers get something too. PJM pays millions of dollars to generating stations for their help in balancing the grid. Once vehicles assume that role on a significant scale, their drivers will get paid too. That is why FERC Commissioner Jon Wellinghoff likes to call the cars CashBack Vehicles – plug them in and get cash back.

AC Propulsion is a manufacturer of electric vehicles (EVs) and electric power systems for EVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) www.acpropulsion.com/

University of Delaware hosts research on technology, economics, and policy for V2G www.udel.edu/V2G/

FERC is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, it regulates and oversees energy industries in the economic, environmental, and safety interests of the American public. http://www.ferc.gov/

PHI is Pepco Holdings International, one of the largest energy delivery companies in the Mid-Atlantic region, serving about 1.9 million customers in four states and the District of Columbia http://www.pepcoholdings.com/

PJM is PJM Interconnection, a regional transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in 14 states and the District of Columbia www.pjm.com/

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