A North Carolina-based Company Thinks They Have a Way for EVs To Help the Grid

Duke Energy of North Carolina is enlisting EV owners to participate in a program that uses their cars to return energy to the power grid during peak usage times. 
Written by Allison Stone
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Electric vehicle
(EV) adoption is growing in popularity, but some are concerned that a full switchover to electric-powered passenger vehicles could dangerously
strain the existing power grid
A North Carolina energy company may have a solution and is currently seeking volunteers to test out its methods. 
Participants also get a chance to get reduced fees on vehicle lease payments for eligible electric vehicles, like the
Ford F-150 Lightning
truck, but how does it all work? 
Read on with the car ownership experts at Jerry to find out. 

Can EVs give back to the grid?

The Ford F-150 Lightning is one of a few select eligible EVs that can
act as a mobile generator
Cars like the F-150 or the Kia EV6 have a
bi-directional charging capability
that allows them to not only store power, but charge other devices, charge electric vehicles, power a home or even return electricity to the grid. 
According to
Kelley Blue Book
, Duke Energy of North Carolina is looking to take advantage of this feature to do just that, and give energy back to the grid during peak use times. 
Other EVs that have this capability include the Hyundai Ioniq 5, some newer Lucid Air models, and the GMC Hummer EV. 
So far, however, the Ford F-150 Lightning has been the only model named by Duke Energy specifically. The program won’t launch until 2023 and could require Duke Energy to install equipment in owners’ homes. 
Owners would need to install some software as well, but it could be worth it to get a deal on a new Ford truck. 
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How to manage a new frontier of sustainable energy

As more electric utilities incorporate renewable energy sources into power grids, renewables sometimes produce more energy than the grid can use. Conversely, some days users need more energy than the grid can provide. 
Just as other industries—such as water management and agriculture—have systems of preservation during times of scarcity or off-seasons, the energy industry needs more storage options via battery storage so that no power goes to waste. 
In the U.S., for example, Arizona’s energy grid can produce enough electricity from solar power alone to power the entire country during peak summer. 
Because of the disjointed nature of the U.S.’s five disparate energy grids, however, that energy can’t be transferred easily to places that may need stored energy to get through the cold winter months. 
While some localities have experimented with using large municipal batteries, they have not proven to be the most reliable or practical solution due to fire risks and massive costs. 

Are EVs the solution to energy management?

As America’s EV population grows, these cars could provide somewhat of a system of mobile energy storage. Cars can draw energy from the grid on certain days, and return it to others, but a nationwide program would require tens of thousands of participants. 
For now, Duke’s pilot program acts as a small-scale test of a system like this, but they’re not the first company to try something like this out. 
Dominion Energy, for example, has created a partnership with certain school districts where electric buses used for transportation during the school year are converted to energy storage buses during the summer when they’re not needed. 
If you’re thinking about buying an EV of your own, sign up with the
app to get the best deal on car insurance. 
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