Plug-in vehicle purchases by the American public may be slowing down this year, but have faith - because utility companies will be picking up a little bit of the slack by stepping up their focus on buying electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids for their fleets. A new program touted for both environmental and cost-saving reasons has a stamp of approval from the White House.
More than 70 electric utilities will invest a quarter-billion dollars during the next five years to add more electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to the utilities' fleets. US Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, PG&E CEO Tony Earley, Edison Electric Institute President Tom Kuhn and White House Senior Advisor John Podesta were among the dignitaries on hand to announce the program at the White House earlier this week.
Leading U.S. Organizations Stepping Up To the Workplace Charging Challenge
Excerpted from a White House press release:
The Energy Department’s Workplace Charging Challenge encourages America’s employers to commit to providing EV charging access for their workforce. After the home, the workplace is the most likely place a vehicle will spend time parked – a significant opportunity to expand our nation’s charging infrastructure. In fact, the ability to charge at work can potentially double a PEV driver's all-electric daily commuting range. The Workplace Charging Challenge has grown to 150 members since its launch in January 2013 with 13 founding members.
Today, 61 new businesses, non-profits, and universities are joining the challenge, including:
- City of Palm Springs
- Harvard University
- Kaiser Permanente
- Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP)
- Northern Illinois University
- Pacific Gas & Electric
- Pomona College
- State of Illinois
- University of Louisville
- University of Maine
- University of Vermont
- Wisconsin Public Service Corporation
From an article by Charles Morris for Charged EV Magazine
Air Force rolls out plug-in vehicle fleet with V2G
Los Angeles Air Force Base has replaced its entire general-purpose vehicle fleet with plug-in vehicles. The 42-vehicle fleet includes 13 Nissan LEAFs, five Ford pick-up trucks with EVAOS PHEV kits, 9 VIA Motors VTRUX vans, four Electric Vehicle International medium-duty trucks and one Phoenix Motorcars 12-passenger bus.
Most are equipped with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capability, allowing them to direct power both to and from the electrical grid when they’re not being driven. 13 V2G-capable CHAdeMO-compliant fast-charging stations have been installed at the base, delivered and commissioned by Princeton Power Systems based on its UL-Certified bi-directional multi-port converter; the GTIB-30
The V2G technology enables the vehicles to provide more than 700 kilowatts of power to the grid, and enhances the power grid’s reliability and security by balancing demand against supply without having to use reserves or standby generators.
“Everything we do to fly, fight and win requires energy, whether it’s aviation fuel for our aircraft or power to run the bases that support them,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “This vehicle-to-grid pilot is a great example of how Airmen are driving the Air Force forward and finding new and innovative ways to make every dollar count.”
California energy providers and regulators worked closely with the Air Force on safety and performance testing as well as technical and regulatory issues. The Air Force plans to expand the V2G demonstration to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. The service is also looking into using used EV batteries as a form of on-base energy storage.
“The forward thinking of the Air Force promises to be an important signal to the market to move this technology into the mainstream,” said William Kempton, Director of the University of Delaware’s Center for Carbon-free Power Integration. “By requesting V2G-capable trucks and cars from several vehicle manufacturers, placed in bases in several states, the Air Force has helped to stimulate demand from both automotive suppliers and the electric industry in these states. We can hope that the Air Force program announced today, together with the recent successful early demonstrations – by the Univeristy of Delaware with Honda, BMW, NRG Energy, PJM, and others – will move us from demonstration to early commercial-scale products.”