Base Load Solar and Wind Power Coupling Idea Related To Electric Vehicles

Amory Lovins et al. as part of their work on the hypercar (lightweight hybrid vehicle) came up with the interesting idea of using the battery capacity of these cars to provide a swing energy capacity to balance the flow of energy from wind turbines and solar electricity sources. This could mean that renewable energy could be used to provide baseload power.  (ie. renewable electricity sources are used to charge car batteries and then these batteries are drawn on to provide power to the grid, when cars are parked, to fill any holes in the generation profile of the renewable sources.)

Tony Maine, from South Australia, has developed this idea based on the idea of developing fleets of pure (non hybrid) electric cars.
What is the feasibility of applying this idea to the existing car fleet?  Every car in the fleet has a battery.  If all cars were retrofitted so that they could plug into the grid these batteries could be charged up using wind power etc. rather than by running the petrol driven engine a bit harder and then the standing mass of batteries could be used as a store of renewable electricity.  Would the ‘spare’ battery capacity of the current car fleet be large enough to balance a significant addition of wind power to the grid?  Is the existing battery capacity of the total car fleet enough to make it worthwhile to pursue this idea?  How good would the economics of this idea be?
If all homes (and car parks) were fitted with the electronics for a 2 way flow of electricity this would enable the cars to plug in and would also enable people to add rooftop solar installations to the grid too thus spreading the cost over additional uses. Would this make much useful difference to the economics?


Read More