I am fascinated by the new all electric Tesla Roadster. Electric and hybrid cars offer the opportunity to consume surplus energy from renewables such as wind and wave to replace our current dependance on fossil fuels for motoring.
This is the off peak electrical load we need to get EDM on the road (literally) in Ireland. According to the published specification, the secondary battery can store about 2.6kWh of energy. If we had 10,000 of these cars in Ireland they would consume 26MWh of off peak wind generated electricity per day. The grid stabilistion effect of this managed load would be a very positive factor in increasing wind energy penetration in Ireland.
Google are growing a fleet of plug in hybrid cars. These are standard hybrid cars with larger batteries fitted and the ability to charge from the electricity grid. The blog also mentions vehicle to grid (V2G) technology. This allows the bidirectional transfer of electricity between the electricity grid and the plug in hybrid.
In the context of Ireland’s need to consume surplus wind generated electricity, electric vehicle or hybrid vehicle batteries would be an ideal candidate for energy storage where the stored energy replaced fossil fuels when consumed on the following day. According to the Irish Examiner (19 June 2007), Toyota are selling 400 Prius hybrid cars per annum in Ireland. Obviously the installed base would have to be much higher to have a significant impact on grid stability.