Originally posted on CleanTechnica
Though electric vehicles represent just a tiny fraction of the cars on the road today, over the next decade analysts believe millions of plug-in vehicles will be bought. This means big business for companies looking to take advantage of advances in Vehicle-Grid Integration (VGI), which could exceed $20 million within the next ten years according to a study by Navigant Research.
Now I’ll grant you that $21 million doesn’t seem like a particularly impressive amount of money, especially considering it takes about $1 billion to build a brand new vehicle from the ground-up. But in 2015 annual vehicle-to-grid integration revenue is expected to amount to just $335,000, as automakers and utilities begin to roll out the first pilot programs for grid storage and charging-on-demand.
Because electric vehicles are essentially giant rolling batteries, they can also serve as a potential storage medium for renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Plug-in car owners can take advantage of low charging rates in exchange for letting their cars be used as energy storage, or in the base of a BMW pilot program, paying people not to plug in until power grid demand is lowered.
“In development since before the Volt and LEAF were first sold in the Unites States, VGI technologies are designed to help make the grid more flexible and resilient, while also lowering electricity rates for owners of PEVs,” says Scott Shepard, research analyst with Navigant Research. “With global sales of PEVs surpassing 320,000 in 2014, pilot programs testing VGI technologies are proliferating, and this market has the opportunity to expand rapidly in the coming years.”
If you ask me though, Navigant is being conservative with its estimates. There are just a handful of VGI programs scattered across the world right now, despite there being hundreds of thousands of plug-in cars. For example, Nissan’s version of mass-market VGI will be limited to Madrid, Spain, a city that’s not exactly on the cutting-edge of EV adoption. Los Angeles Air Force Base is also testing its own VGI system with a fleet of 42 vehicles, though California is home to more than 100,000 plug-in vehicles
Once these programs roll out en masse though, and suddenly the storage woes of sustainable energy are solve, it could ignite the green energy revolution that we’ve all been waiting for.