OK, this isn’t exactly breaking news, but last night on Discovery HD World, after the main show, there was a little 10 minute clip on a mini program called e-nnovations (*groan*), or, apparently, Discovery Tech over in the US.
Anyway, the segment was about a new type of electric car that uses Vehicle-to-Grid or V2G technology. At first, perhaps, this sounds like a pretty neat concept. Charge your car off the grid in off-peak times then sell the electricity back to the grid during peak times.
But check out the nitty gritty, and it’s not such a sweet deal. And odd, too, that in 10 web pages I looked up (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10), all of them espouse the wonderful benefits, but none of them mentioned the cost.
Only the video did.
For starters, these V2G units cost about $70,000. So effectively, you will be paying four times more for your average car. Dr Willet Kempton, at the University of Delaware, who’s the bloke plugging this type of car, also acknowledges that if most of your electricity comes from coal (which it does), then the CO2 emissions end up being about the same as a regular car.
So far, we’re at four times the cost for pretty much no benefit.
Then he notes that if we use renewables like wind and solar energy, then, of course (?) the CO2 emissions will go down. But that means the cost will go up, not to mention that wind and solar baseload power is, at present, completely unreliable.
Maybe if we switched to nuclear power…
And how’s this? It seems to be that in the video, the doctor charges up his car at the university, then takes it home to power his house… and a few neighbours’ houses.
So overall, it seems like a neat idea on the surface, and may well work after quite a few more years of R&D, but at present it is at best a gimmick, and at worst a fraud.
PS They don’t exactly go for 500-odd kilometres, either.
*cross-posted at bing’s