Auto Manifesto

February 26, 2008

Peak Shaving

There’s been a lot of attention given to Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles and their advantages. One of these is the ability to charge overnight using electricity when the demand or load on the power grid is least, and the possibility of supplying excess power back to the grid from the vehicle (V2G) during the day, when power demand is high.

I listened to an AFVi (Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute) webinar today about these vehicles. One interesting slide covered V2G, and how that could help the grid. It was labeled “peak shaving”, and showed the potential to smooth out some of the peaks and valleys in power grid demand throughout the day. This is analogous to a previous post where about smoothing out drive cycles.

Whether it’s a power plant or a car, it’s quite clear that maximum efficiency is achieved within a very narrow operating range. And because of that, whatever we can do to decouple supplies and demands, no matter the system, means that higher efficiencies as well as lower overall peak power capacity can be achieved.

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