Tesla EVs as a Power Bank? Australian Researchers to explore opportunities

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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The University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia has initiated a world-first international trial to explore if the extra battery capacity in electric cars (EVs) can be utilized to boost renewable energy usage, support the grid, and even power future homes.

UQ has teamed up with analytics platform Teslascope to recruit 500 Tesla owners from around the world for the study, which will examine their driving and charging habits.

Tesla owners in Australia, the United States, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Germany, and the United Kingdom are eligible to participate in the study’s initial phase. The project will be expanded to accommodate other vehicle brands as more manufacturers integrate Application Programming Interface (API) access into their vehicles.

According to Dr. Jake Whitehead, E-Mobility Research Fellow at UQ, while electric vehicles with a range of more than 400 kilometers are increasingly being introduced to the market, most are only driven for less than 50 kilometers each day, providing opportunities to store energy and export power to the grid using vehicle-to-grid (V2G) chargers.

Since EVs are increasing in numbers globally, it is worth studying how this EV technology can not only deliver the necessary emissions reductions in transport to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 but also how they can provide other energy services, Dr. Whitehead added.

V2G technology is a link between an electric vehicle and the power grid, allowing power to flow from the grid to the car and vice versa. As a result, car owners may be able to sell energy to the network, while utilities may be able to use electric cars as a backup during demand periods.

Mr. Ian Christensen, managing director of iMOVE, co-funder of the project said that “For smart charging infrastructure to deliver these benefits, EV uptake must be significantly increased, and importantly, EV owners must be willing to use their vehicles as ‘batteries-on-wheels’.”

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