Charging for discharging: PG&E's electric-car potential

PG&E unveils a bidirectional vehicle to grid technology for electric-cars

Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric vehicle CNET Networks

Plug-in electric cars have gotten a lot of column inches recently, thanks to the hoopla surrounding the unveiling of Chevy's Volt concept at this year's Detroit auto show. This week, the dream of AC-connected autos took a step closer to becoming reality as utility giant PG&E unveiled a Vehicle to Grid (V2G) technology allowing two-way transfer of electricity between electric vehicles and the grid. The technology, demonstrated at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Alternative Energy Solutions Summit, would effectively turn idle electric cars into a source of electricity for homes and businesses, taking load demand off the grid at peak usage times.

PG&E's V2G Toyota Prius demonstration vehicle CNET Networks

PG&E suggests that the system could be used by businesses to harness the cars' electric charge in order to power air-conditioning systems on hot days, for example. In exchange for allowing their rides to be used as mobile generators, electric-car owners get to make a quick buck by charging their cars with cheaper off-peak electricity, then selling it back at a profit during peak demand hours. As an added benefit, the utility says that the bidirectional technology will reduce the need for it to purchase excess capacity from dirty fossil-fuel generators. Read the full story here on CNET news.com.

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