But wait! There’s more! EVs might make your electricity cheaper

Electric vehicles hook up to the grid when there’s lots of energy but not much demand for it. That energy is stored in the vehicle and then put back on the grid when energy demand is high.

Key Points

  • Electric vehicles could save us money by storing energy for the grid.
  • When supply is high, energy would be stored in your car battery.
  • That energy could then be returned to the grid when it’s needed. 

Who doesn’t love a good infomercial?

You mean I just slap that thing and all my veggies are chopped? Free shipping too?!

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, my expectations are totally exceeded.

I had similar emotions when I read an article in Forbes about electric vehicles recently. Like any good infomercial, first, I was reminded that electric vehicles can improve air quality, are getting more affordable and are evolving to have a longer range.

But wait! There’s more!

Electric vehicles could make everyone’s electricity cheaper and more reliable.

See? Even better than free shipping!

Pacific Gas & Electric and BMW recently completed a pilot program that used electric vehicles as flexible grid storage. Electric vehicles hook up to the grid when there’s lots of energy but not much demand for it. That energy is stored in the vehicle and then put back on the grid when energy demand is high.

This kind of energy storage would be great for renewables — like wind or solar — that might be generating power when no one needs it and idling when folks need energy.

It could also save money.

Investments to keep the grid balanced are really expensive. The need for the grid would remain. But if your energy company could avoid making investments on equipment like transformers and re-conductoring distribution lines to keep the grid balanced, our bills might reflect it.

There’s more work that needs to be done before this can become a widespread reality.

We still need more vehicle-to-grid technology that would help energy flow between the power lines and your car.

But, it could be a real solution to save money and make the grid more reliable someday.

I hear it also slices and dices.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned a degree in political science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the governor’s office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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