As development of smart grid technology moves ahead, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released a report of test procedures to help make sure electric vehicles and hybrids are designed to plug in with maximum efficacy.
A key principle of smart grid technology is allowing bidirectional power flow to accommodate spikes in demand and provide reliable power. Hybrid and electric vehicles’ large batteries could play a key role in this by delivering energy to the smart grid or slowing their charging rate when energy demand is high, as stated by the NREL’s director of energy systems integration, Ben Kroposki: “Unleashing the potential of electric vehicles to optimize grid performance will be instrumental as the world moves to a smart grid with much higher use of renewables, energy storage and load control.”
The NREL report documents a series of tests evaluating hybrid and electric vehicles’ ability to store and provide energy to the utility grid. Through examples of testing setup, procedures and reporting, the report is intended to act as a model for engineers, designers and utilities to conduct standardized testing and maximize “vehicle-to-grid” capabilities of hybrid and electric vehicles.
“We developed the test procedures in this report using actual prototype vehicles equipped with advanced power electronics and advanced energy storage technologies,” said Bill Kramer, acting group manager for NREL’s Distributed Energy Systems Integration Group. “Once testing is expanded to a wider variety of vehicles, these procedures could become the foundation for testing standards for [vehicle-to-grid] applications.”