In Delaware, fifteen Mini E models that have been donated by BMW, are currently being utilize to "balance the grid" by drawing and selling energy at appropriate times in a project lead by the University of Delaware.
V2G Is Already A Reality In Japan. Here A Nissan LEAF, Through A Nichicon Charging Station Puts Stored Electricity Back Into The Grid
While V2G (vehicle to grid) is not a new concept, Nissan has been featuring chargers with this functionality in Japan, it is a new way of thinking in the US.
The Mini Es are equipped with a two-way battery charger, and a slightly modified on board receptor.
Professor of electrical engineering and computing, Willett M. Kempton says that each of the 15 Mini Es earn about $5 a day when the sharing system is active; which of course equals about $150/month or $1,800 a year....making the prospective of EV ownership even more attractive
In a interview with the NY Times, Michehl R. Gent (no we did not mis-spell his first name), a former president of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, said that the University's project was “tiny but promising.”
“If we can get our electric vehicles to do more than just be electric vehicles, it will be very well received,” said Mr. Gent, who is not associated with the project."
Professor Kempton explains that the MINI E's listen for a signal from grid operator, that gets pinged out every four seconds. That signal in turn tells the batteries the ideal times to charge, discharge, or just idle.
Also, if the cars are in need of charging, they can alternate the amount of current they draw at certain times in order to add or subtract from the overall load of the grid.
Check out a rather in depth article on the project and its value to the future of both electric vehicles, and the grid itself here (NY Times). Hat tip to Michael T.