Tesla's Musk downplays V2G's importance in Battery Day remarks
- Sep 30, 2020 4:40 pm GMT
Elon Musk is not averse to hyping technologies. That’s why his take on vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology at Tesla’s “Battery Day” last week was so surprising.
“Vehicle-to-grid sounds good, but I think actually has a much lower utility than people think,” Musk said. “I think it’s actually going to be better for people’s freedom of action to have a Powerwall and a car.”
The Verge reported Musk’s remarks in an article that quoted a researcher as saying that V2G’s utility is actually pretty high.
“The amount of energy storage you have driving on four wheels is much more than any electric utility will ever build and put on the grid,” says Gerbrand Ceder, a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. “So it now starts to make sense that you use this as a resource to stabilize the grid.”
Being able to use Tesla cars as batteries also could be handy during blackouts, like the ones California residents experience from fires and heat waves in this climate-changed world.
“Right now there’s a real need for providing backup power that [batteries] can provide,” Jeff Cook, renewable energy policy and market analyst at National Renewable Energy Laboratory, told the Verge.
One reason Musk may be downplaying V2G are that he wants to make sure Tesla owners can drive their cars whenever they want to and thinks that if the cars send some of their power back onto the grid they may not always be charged enough to go the distance their owners want them to. Another is that Tesla makes a home storage battery called a Powerwall that provides grid services and Musk is afraid V2G may cannibalize sales of it.
“It will be problematic if you get to the morning, and instead of being charged, (the car) has discharged,” Musk said, according to The Driven. “It will be better to have a Powerwall and a car operating separately. Then everything works.”
Musk may eventually have no choice but to embrace V2G. Nissan has rolled out the technology in its Leaf electric car and is participating in what will eventually be the world’s largest test of it in Italy along with Engie EPS, the Engie division that focuses on electrical storage and microgrids, and Terna, Italy’s grid operator.
Nissan also has created a modified version of the Leaf called the Re-Leaf that can function as a mobile power supply after natural disasters and extreme weather events.
If that takes off, Tesla may have to embrace something in addition to V2G technology — the use of bad puns in product names.