This project investigated the technical feasibility of using parked electric vehicles (EV) to provide "trim" power to the electrical grid. AC Propulsion integrated the software, wireless communication system, grid-vehicle connection, AC/DC conversion hardware, and control algorithms needed to make parked electric vehicles available to the California Independent System Operator (ISO) as grid regulation sources. "Grid regulation" is the automated matching of instantaneous electrical generation to demand with power from sources that can provide quick response to ISO's call for supplemental power. The value of power provided by EV batteries while they will be parked could help to offset the costs of EV ownership.
A prototype vehicle was connected to the power grid for 222 hours, during which time it provided energy to, and withdrew recharging energy from the grid according to a schedule based on historical data on ISO's calls for power from its normal sources. The technical systems worked well. AC Propulsion calculated the gross value of the grid regulation service provided by the test vehicle using historical prices paid by the ISO. Under reasonable assumptions about charges for reduced battery life (not measured in this work) and the charges of real-world middlemen, the calculated gross income generally corresponded to net income to EV owners that would substantially pay for battery replacements.
Alec Brooks is Chief Technology Officer of AC Propulsion and leads the development of vehicle-to-grid power applications there. He has an extensive background in vehicle development, technical management, and engineering analysis. Prior to joining AC Propulsion, he was Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at AeroVironment, Inc. During his 17 years at AeroVironment, he led the teams that developed the GM SunRaycer, the GM Impact electric vehicles, and an operational replica of a flying pterodactyl. He holds a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from the California Institute of Technology.
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