Dr. Willett Kempton with Len Beck
V2G pioneer Dr. Willett Kempton (left) with Len Beck at first successful test of vehicle-to-grid communication between AC Propulsion eBox electric car and local DelMarVa power system.

The V2G Revolution Gets a Textbook

MP3 podcast interview with Len Beck, the author of the first vehicle-to-grid text book.

By EV World Podcast

When Drs. Willett Kempton and Steven Letendre first proposed using the batteries in electric cars to help regulate the electric power grid a decade ago the idea seemed far-fetched. It seems a lot less so today.

While most utilities and car companies are still gradually coming to grips with the notion of vast fleets of cars and trucks getting their power from the grid, Kempton and Letendre's proposal is starting gain traction. Jon Wellinghoff, the newly appointed head of the Federal Energy Regulator Commission (FERC), is a firm supporter of the concept, stating in his endorsement of V2G-101 that it "will be the 'glue' of an integrated energy policy that will transform our carbon based society to one based on carbon free renewable energy."   cover of Len Beck's V2G-101 Textbook
Click book to order from Amazon.com

Even President Obama endorsed the idea recently after visiting Southern California Edison's Electric Vehicle Technology Center in Pomona. [See EV World's podcast interview with Ed Kjaer entitled, "Plugging in America's President"]. And while SCE's Kjaer believes the introduction of vehicle-to-grid systems are still years in the future, at least one utility has started actively investigating it; and the man who lit the fuse is Len Beck, the author of V2G-101.

EV World's publisher spoke with Beck recently about what is, in effect, the world's first "textbook" on what surely will be one of the transformative technologies of the 21st century. A manager with Delmarva Power in Delaware, Beck became interested in Dr. Kempton's ideas several years ago and began corresponding with him, eventually arranging a small grant to assist the University of Delaware professor in pursuing his V2G research.

In a nutshell, Vehicle-to-Grid enables the power company to communicate with future electric cars -- including battery, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell-powered -- so as to move electric energy into and back out of the battery pack. In theory, the power company should be willing to compensate the vehicle owner for this capability because of the value-added service it offers the community and the utility. Beck explains that utilities pay $10 billion for ancillary power regulation services annually.

Dr. Kempton and his students and colleagues have been developing various economic models to explore what services bring the most value to both sides of the transaction. Working closely with the university and other resources, Beck lays out in some 330-plus pages what is, in effect, a master blueprint of how we get from theory to reality. It is rich in charts, graphs, sidebars, cast studies and even end-of-chapter review questions and problems to solve.

V2G-101, however, is not an inaccessible scholarly tome intended for engineers and academicians. Written in easy-to-comprehend layman's language, it walks the reader step-by-step through the rationale for V2G and the principals of how the system will one day work from the technology on the car to the role of the fleet aggregator to the critical services V2G will someday provide participating power companies.

In the 25-minute MP3 interview with EV World, Len Beck talks about writing the book, the people and technologies that were the catalyst for it, and where the most profitable opportunities lie for early adapters. Use either of the two MP3 players above to listen to the interview, or feel free to download the 5.63MB file to your computer for transfer to your favorite MP3 device.

Historic moment as first V2G car begins communicating with the local power grid. Vehicle is AC Propulsion eBox.

EVWORLD Future In Motion Podcast

Download MP3 File

Times Article Viewed: 8401
Published: 31-Mar-2009


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