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Vehicle-to-Grid Power Fundamentals: Calculating Capacity and Net Revenue


As the light vehicle fleet moves to electric drive (hybrid, battery, and
fuel cell vehicles), an opportunity opens for “vehicle-to-grid” (V2G)
power. This article defines the three vehicle types that can produce V2G
power, and the power markets they can sell into. V2G only makes sense if
the vehicle and power market are matched. For example, V2G appears to be
unsuitable for baseload power – the constant round-theclock electricity
supply – because baseload power can be provided more cheaply by large
generators, as it is today. Rather, V2G’s greatest near-term promise is
for quick-response, high-value electric services. These quick-response
electric services are purchased to balance constant fluctuations in load
and to adapt to unexpected equipment failures; they account for 5-10% of
electric cost – $ 12 billion per year in the US. This article develops
equations to calculate the capacity for grid power from three types of
electric drive vehicles. These equations are applied to evaluate revenue
and costs for these vehicles to supply electricity to three electric
markets (peak power, spinning reserves, and regulation). The results
suggest that the engineering rationale and economic motivation for V2G
power are compelling. The societal advantages of developing V2G include
an additional revenue stream for cleaner vehicles, increased stability
and reliability of the electric grid, lower electric system costs, and
eventually, inexpensive storage and backup for renewable electricity.