A road trial of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) is being conducted by the CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship program. CSIRO engineers have altered the PHEVs to include a 30Ah NiMH battery capable of holding a 6kWh charge and a battery charger.
The road trial is collecting information on how existing PHEV technology could be utilised, by using the cars as a large mobile battery which can be integrated supply power to homes
According to CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship scientist Dr Phillip Paevere, “The PHEVs have been fitted with instruments which will monitor the travel patterns of different users, and the residual battery power left in the car at the end of the day, which could be available for other uses.”
The cars could potentially become a large battery store and energy source for a home, powering appliances or storing off-peak or surplus electricity generated from renewable sources, such as solar panels.
SP AusNet are participating in the trial and according to spokesperson Sean Sampson, the introduction of electric vehicles into the mainstream market could have a significant impact on the electricity network, potentially dramatically affecting the output at residential and retail outlets.
While PHEVs have the potential to reduce carbon emissions, they may also provide a way to manage peak demand on the electricity grid, by controlling when PHEVs are recharging from the electricity network the burden of demand can be shifted. The car batteries could be utilised to provide power during peak periods of demand, reduce the risk of blackouts when there is a network supply interruption and assist in maintaining the overall stability of the network.