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Postal Service as Giant Battery? A Plan for Cashing In

By Elizabeth McGowan

Apr 5, 2010

Those leaps are clear signals that the president is seeking a transportation game-changer in a sector with 246 million vehicles that spew one-third of the country’s greenhouse gases, says Patrick Davis, program manager with DOE’s vehicle technologies program.

“Infrastructure is expensive, so you can’t afford to follow a build it and they will come philosophy,” Davis says. “You have to get it right if you’re going to be selling a $30,000 electric car to people. It has to be quick, cheap and seamless.”

He is confident that infrastructure can be funded, batteries can be perfected and the price can be right.

“It’s not a question of if this can be done,” Davis says. “It’s when. And how do we speed this along?”

 

See also:

U.S. Postal Service Could Deliver America the Electric Car

Fuel Efficient Fleets Saving Corporations Money

Nissan Scores $200 Million for Biggest-Ever Electric Car Grid Project

Excellent discussion ...

The economic value, especially for early adopters, of PHEV/EVs' ability to act in a storage capacity for the grid is quite clear for those who study / work Smart Grid like issues. That the Post Office could help ease its financial burdens, in more than one way, via this value is one that (sadly) I hadn't thought of. Great piece, thank you for writing it.

A very interesting article.

A very interesting article. Potentially, people could literally transform their car into a power storage unit where they could sell power back to the grid. It is smart solutions such as this which could transform how we use energy in this country. We are finding more and more energy alternatives where the role of energy is being decentralized and integrated into small roles within society. These small roles make up the bigger picture where we as a nation are more energy efficient. And everyone can agree this is a good thing. Of course investment and time are two of the factors working against this scenario. This is where government must step in and continue to set the standards higher and provide the incentives to see this transition.

Miss the point?

It's possible that you missed a very large point in the story or at least mis-re-stated it. The story is not about selling back the power to the grid, which is economically suspect. As it states, the profitable part is frequency regulation for the grid. That doesn't happen during the daytime when they're driving around, it happens at night when the delivery vehicles are charging. So it's an extra $6 or so each night while they are plugged in and drawing (not returning) electricity. The extra $1500/year (at 250 working days annually) or maybe even $2,000/year if they can do it on weekends too could be enough to pay the extra expense of the battery if the battery last 8 or 10 years. Another unanswered question is what does this do to the battery lifetime. If it shortens it too much, it won't make sense economically, but my guess is that it won't hurt it too much.

I'm not sure about one major point. What's regulating the frequency during the daytime when my mail is being delivered? Will that vendor so easily surrender the regulation market at night? Perhaps so if it is something like a gas turbine that can easily come on line and just as easily shut off. But if it some other source, they may not just step aside for EVs. Like I said, I don't know, depends who does it now.

I think the point you're

I think the point you're missing David is that wind power is stronger at night, the time when these vehicle are plugged in, but that night wind is power is lost without this kind of storage.

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