by Dean Adams Curtis
Will you even power your home with your future autonomous EVs? I know I will, that is if auto manufacturers give me the opportunity to do so.
More on this in a moment.
Meanwhile, we’ve got highlights from LA’s auto show for you at the bottom of this post, and we’re prepping to offer you inside access to the Detroit show press days this coming week.
We’re following the big picture for you, while also sharing exciting details about vehicles that are paving the way into the autonomous EV age. In the LA show, hydrogen as a source for generating electrons for EV power trains again revealed itself to be a healthy and maturing technology.
I talked with a former Chrysler vehicle safety executive over the holiday season. He said he was waiting for EVs to offer 600 mile ranges. We’re nearly half way there already. Witness last year’s auto show darling the GM Bolt EV, with its 238 EV miles, new longer-range Nissan Leafs, and longer-range Teslas.
Look, or behold, what is ahead. Inevitably we will each be lulled, each in our own sweet times, into autonomous vehicle transit. Even as we resist the idea of letting go control of our cars in our minds, we are also weighing notions of doing things in transit other than driving.
As you probably heard, GM is requesting permission to test vehicles without steering wheels, gas pedals, brakes, or instruments, on the roadways of states across the nation. Apple is now also an autonomous auto company. And Uber is prepping for driver-less Ubering.
Indeed, autonomous driving Teslas and Cadillac CT6s are already cruising highways with human hands off their wheels. And, of course, our highways will be perfect early paths for autonomous vehicles, in packs communicating with one another, and in their own dedicated lane(s) that will replace the car pool lanes. Other routes will quickly follow, especially as buses and trucks join the autonomous EV transformation.
Many hard-working Americans are deeply committed to their pick-up trucks, and to their high horsepower. Truck enthusiasts may know that just outside the LA show Toyota showed up with a massive Kenworth semi-truck retrofitted with two Toyota Mirai hydrogen sedan engines, that they are using in LA to haul cars from the port to distribution centers. As the big trucks go EV, whether powered by electrons from hydrogen reactions or from photons reacting with solar panels, so too will the smaller trucks go EV. Current era truck drivers who may now be concerned, will be mightily impressed by the pick-up of EV trucks.
Will all autonomous vehicles eventually be EVs, and vice-versa? Certainly ever more EVs will offer ever more autonomous driving, and will be sharing the road with ever more fully self driving vehicles that have no controls. However, with equal certainty, many individuals who came of driving age in our era, will no doubt hold onto the steering wheels of vintage ICE vehicles until the days they pass away.
During the evolution to the autonomous EV age, we’ll be living ever more protected from vehicle caused fatalities and injuries, and ever more sustainably as PV panels fill up our batteries with electrons. Huge wins, aside from all the extra leisure time that being chauffeured around by autonomous EVs will offer us.
So, will I be powering my home with extra juice left over in the batteries of my 600 mile range EV? As long as the auto makers let me, and you. Currently this would abrogate the vehicle’s battery warranty. They’re worried about battery degradation.
Yet research by the Berkeley National Laboratories shows minimal battery degradation from V2G (vehicle-to-grid), V2H (vehicle-to-home), or V2B (vehicle-to-building) use. Further, an interdisciplinary research group at Germany’s Aachen University has determined that EV batteries may well benefit from use by homes.
Think of EV batteries as having Goldilocks zones, like that storybook character’s preferences.
Batteries don’t like it too hot, or too cool. They don’t like to be drained of all their electrons, and don’t like too many either. Thus, automakers should soon start to allow us to do what Nissan has been allowing the U.S. Air Force Space Command in LA to do with Nissan Leafs. As we reported back in 2014, the U.S. Department of Defense V2G project involves Leaf EVs and approximately 500 medium duty EV trucks at six military bases, including L.A., parts of a fleet of approximately 1,500 EVs. The entire DOD program includes V2G activity.
It therefore seems self evident that someday soon you and I will also be able to power our homes with electrons from the batteries of our EV.