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Pitch

eRev finances V2G-capable electric vehicles so they provide grid storage, generate revenue, and cost less than traditional vehicles.


Description

Summary

Our start-up company eRev finances V2G-capable electric vehicles so people can use electric vehicles at no additional costs, reducing CO2 and improving efficiency for the grid. We propose two main actions:

  • Regional transmission organizations (RTOs) should enact policy to allow vehicles to participate as electricity storage for the grid. This is currently implemented in PJM RTO where vehicles participate in the frequency regulation market.

 

  • Electric vehicle manufacturers should include V2G technology in designs to make their product more cost-effective compared to traditional vehicles.

 

When parked and plugged in, cars can become small scale power plants. Vehicle-to-grid (V2G)​ technology enables electric vehicle batteries to provide storage for the electrical grid. Electric vehicle owners can make money by providing this storage service. In addition, V2G-capable electric vehicles reduce CO2 and health impacts due to emissions.

V2G technology makes this happen by allowing car batteries to communicate with the electric grid. The University of Delaware developed this technology (find out more) and currently operates a Mini-BMW fleet as a miniature, mobile power plant. This work not only reduces CO2, improves health, and improves grid efficiency, but also validates wind and solar energy, which tend to be intermittent and could benefit from storage services.


Category of the action

Building efficiency: Physical Action


What actions do you propose?

  • Regional transmission organizations (RTOs) should enact policy to enable V2G-capable electric vehicles to participate in the frequency regulation market. Vehicle batteries respond in seconds, allowing for fast-paced balancing of the electrical grid. PJM RTO has already changed policy so that vehicles can participate (lowered capacity requirements to match vehicle battery capacity).

 

  • Our plan is to help finance V2G-capable electric fleet vehicles, such as shuttles and buses, allowing interested fleet managers to buy electric vehicles at no greater cost than current internal combustion vehicles, while allowing them to save money on fuel and maintenance.  In addition, we will own and operate the V2G services the vehicle will provide, which will provide a return on investment of 40%.  Lastly, the storage services the vehicles provide make the grid more efficient, reducing the price of electricity.  Everyone wins! 

 

  • We also plan to help electric vehicle manufacturers incorporate V2G capabilities into their designs.  Since we can offer price reductions to consumers using V2G, these manufacturers need to make their charging systems capable of V2G and will sell more vehicles if they do.  While this does not significantly increase costs, it does require forethought in the planning and design of the vehicle.

 


Who will take these actions?

The major actions will be taken by our company, eRev, and with several partners, including the University of Delaware, eV2G, the Delaware SEU, among others.  While eRev will be the main actor, by actively providing inexpensive electric vehicles and also operating V2G services, these other organizations will also assist the project:  

  • The University of Delaware is the leader of V2G implementation and will hep develop and implement V2G technology.  
  • eV2G, a joint partnership between the University of Delaware and NRG, is the only group in the world that is aggregating electric vehicles to bid V2G services on the electricity market.  They will provide bidding services and act directly with PJM.
  • The Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU), funded by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initaitive (RGGI), invests in climate mitigation technologies  They have voiced their support of our project and are looking to help make this project a reality.  

 

As this project develops, various other businesses, organizations and individuals will help us develop and spread the implementation of V2G-capable electric vehicles.

In addition, other Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) can enact policy to include V2G-capable electric vehicles in the frequency regulation market. This requires restructuring of the ancillary services market but is already required by law (FERC Order 755).  Likewise, governments can incentivize electric vehicles and the development of V2G technologies. 

 


Where will these actions be taken?

V2G-capable electric vehicles can currently provide storage services to the PJM grid.  PJM is one of the largest RTOs in the world, ranging from Chicago to New Jersey, but there is certainly room for expansion beyond this region.  This type of action can happen in the other RTOs in the United States once the market is restructured.  In addition, V2G storage is of key interest to various countries in Europe, such as Denmark, or France (see Codani et al 2014).

Furthermore, electric vehicle manufacturers world-wide can benefit from these technology improvements that will make their cars more profitable.  As electric vehicle implementation is slated to occur world wide, the benefits of V2G in reducing costs of ownership as well as improving grid reliability can also be offered worldwide. 

Thus eRev's action will originally focus on the PJM area, but rapid expansion to other parts of the United States to Europe and the rest of the world is expected.


How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

Our cost-benefit analysis, published in Applied Energy, not only found that electric school buses are more cost effective than diesel buses but also found that they reduce CO2 emissions dramatically (Noel and McCormack, 2014). A typical diesel school bus will emit 14 tons of CO2 annually. An electric bus will produce 75% less CO2 at 3.6 tons of CO2 per year. Electric bus CO2 emissions are caused by being connected to a grid that uses CO2 producing fuel sources. As more renewable energy is integrated on the grid, the CO2 emissions will be reduced. These types of carbon reductions would also apply to various other electric vehicles eRev would help finance. Furthermore, storage capability such as V2G-vehicles will facilitate further renewable development. Many renewables like wind and solar are intermittent. Storage of renewable energy can enable wind and solar to power our grid constantly, even when when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow.


What are other key benefits?

Diesel emissions cause health issues such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory ailments, and cancer. School children can be disproportionately affected with health problems such as these because air within the school bus contains higher levels of diesel exhaust compared to ambient air. Research has shown that retrofits that reduce diesel exhaust directly reduce children's hospital and doctor visits related to these diseases and associated monetary costs (Beatty and Shimshack, 2011). Using electric buses eliminates these health concerns completely because no diesel exhaust is emitted in transit, improving the health of those who ride the vehicles, such as school children, as well as saving statistical lives of the general public.


What are the proposal’s costs?

The costs of this proposal in theory, are very minimal.  Though electric vehicles have associated increased capital costs that serve as barriers to electric vehicle implementation, the revenues of V2G can reduce the overall cost to below the cost of ownership of a traditional combustion engine vehicle.  A V2G capable electric bus costs around $300,000 due to the high costs of batteries and electric equipment, more than double the average diesel bus, approximately $110,000.  But with fuel savings and V2G revenue, the net present cost of operating the V2G capable bus is significantly less than the diesel over the lifespan of the bus, saving over $200,000 over 14 years. These savings include the full replacement of the battery, which only costs $25,000 in comparison. Typical use requires the battery to be replaced only once after 9 years. See our analysis for more information.  Because of this, our plan will allow us to offer electric vehicles at no greater cost to the purchaser, thus decreasing the costs for the vehicle owner while paying off the original extra capital investment.

However, to get to a point where this plan can sustain itself, significant amounts of effort in designing and creating a V2G-capable electric fleet vehicle will need to be undertaken.  If we were selected to win the grand prize, we would utilize this grant to begin such efforts and make this dream a reality.

 


Time line

The proposed action has implications for the both the short and long term period.  First, since V2G technology has already been developed, and a pilot project is already underway, there is no barrier to short term implementation.  The short term goals are to find funding, apply the technology to the particular vehicle, and develop the consumer base. Within 5 years, we expect to add substantial amounts of V2G-capable electric vehicles within the PJM system. Through the next 10 years beyond that, the action can be applied to various other regions and electricity grids.

In the long term, V2G capable vehicles can provide the means to large scale implementation of 100% climate-free transportation and electricity systems.  In addition to converting transportation to an emissions-free system, V2G capable electric vehicles can provide an essential role for the large scale implementation of renewable electricity.  A recent report found that with large scale V2G storage, the PJM grid can be powered in the future almost entirely by wind and solar electricity (Budischak et al. 2013).  

RTOs can start including V2G-vehicles in the storage market today. The PJM RTO already incorporates vehicles in the frequency regulation market and benefits from the services. It would be prudent for RTOs to include this fast-paced balancing technology as part of their grid storage system.  While V2G-technology is being used today at the University of Delaware several other companies are developing V2G-capable vehicles and designs are expected to be completed within 2 years. Widespread implementation of this technology could be implemented within several years after initial designs are used on the market.


Related proposals


References

Beatty TKM, Shimshack JP. 2011. School buses, diesel emission and respiratory health. J Health Econ 30:987–99.

Budishak, C. et al. 2013. Cost-minimized combinations of wind power, solar power and electrochemical storage, powering the grid up to 99.9% of the time. Journal of Power Sources 225:60-74.

Codani, P., Petit, M., and Perez, Y. 2014. Diversity of transmission system operators for grid integrated vehicles. In proceeding of: European Energy Market Conference 2014.

Noel, L. and McCormack, R. 2014. A cost benefit analysis of a V2G-capable electric bus compared to a traditional diesel school bus. Applied Energy 126:246-255.