V2G and the Powersnack™: How Does it Work?

V2G and EVs: How Does it Work?

Industry buzz words get bandied about assuming everyone understands what they mean. But, in many instances, people don’t understand or there are multiple definitions. So, to ensure we’re all starting from the same place, let’s define V2G – short for Vehicle-to-Grid – and why it’s an important element of the whole electric vehicles story.

What is V2G? … electric vehicles have large batteries. The energy in those batteries typically is used to power the vehicle. However, at any given time 95% of automobiles in the U.S. sit parked, their energy unused. At the same time, as the world moves to more and more green energy sources, like solar and wind-powered electricity in lieu of coal, say, there may be more fluctuations in the availability of energy from the grid. Put those large batteries, parked cars, and fluctuations in grid availability together and you have a solution:  V2G technology can send some of the stored power back to the grid to adjust for fluctuations in other sources. In some cases, V2G can also provide a source of revenue to those who are sending energy back to the grid. You can also have V2H (Vehicle-2-Home), where the EV’s battery can provide backup energy to the house in case of a power outage. Check out our video about the V2G experience to learn more. Of course, EVs can only be tapped for V2G or V2H today if they are plugged in – something a user must remember to do.

Why is vehicle-to-grid technology important?

V2G vehicles can provide power to help balance grid loads by allowing charging when demand is low, like at night when everyone is sleeping, and sending power to the grid when demand is high, like during the rush of dinner, laundry, homework, and television in the early evening. Peak load leveling keeps voltage and frequency stable and provides reserves to meet sudden demands for power. As a result, public utilities don’t need to build as many power plants to meet peak demand and homes/businesses have power during power outages. It’s a win-win for EV owners and utilities!

At WiTricity, we enable the world to Powersnack™.

What do we mean by that? Wireless charging doesn’t require the driver to remember to plug in, so their car is always available for V2G energy transfer. And in a world where wireless charging is available wherever you park – your car will always be getting little sips of energy—at the mall, the dentist’s office, the park. Instead of charging being a chore, something you go do (like getting gas), charging comes to you where you already are parked with no need to hassle with a plug or cable.

Taking a Powersnack™ isn’t just for cars. The grid snacks, too.

Currently, to deliver power to the grid, an electric vehicle must be connected to the grid through its charger cable. This requires the operator to remember to plug the vehicle in—even when charging isn’t necessarily required.  Compare that to wireless charging where each time your vehicle is parked there is an opportunity for it to play a part in V2G – and give the grid an opportunity to take little sips of energy from all those EV batteries when needed to keep the whole ecosystem up and running. This end-to-end ecosystem of interconnected smart grid, EVs, and renewable energy sources is our vision of a smarter, more resilient, greener future.

Related Asset:

Wireless Charging Improves the V2G Experience