Shell Sponsored Video: EVs Could Power The World, But There’s A Catch


Electric cars and smart cities will forever change our existence.

With any major transition comes good and bad consequences. Shell Oil — as part of its #makethefuture initiative — shares how electric vehicles could do much more than just transport people from point A to point B. We’re talking about the rise of smart, connected cities here, with new technology taking hold of many aspects of daily life. For the most part, it seems Shell is trying to promote the future of electric cars.

However, attached below in the video description is a podcast related to the topic (also sponsored by Shell). It delves deeper into the potential situation and sheds light on the negatives as well. Is Shell really promoting EVs here? Is there also a separate agenda that wants us to take a step back and think about how this new technology could work to disrupt urban environments in a not-so-positive way?

What do you think? Leave us your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.

Video Description via Mashable on YouTube:

How Electric Vehicle Batteries Could Be Used to Power Entire Cities

What’s the most valuable thing inside an EV? It’s not the motor. It’s the battery.

Electric vehicle batteries could power entire homes for days. Those batteries could become the powerhouses of future cities. Listen to more here:

This video is sponsored by Shell’s #makethefuture initiative.

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34 Comments on "Shell Sponsored Video: EVs Could Power The World, But There’s A Catch"

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I didn’t really gather the negative aspect of this video. Seemed to make sense to me, what I didn’t understand would be the (seemingly) complicated process of a person managing their EV’s charge level with the added complication of discharging it back into a building’s electric system. While I agree that the “fuel” sitting in my vehicle’s battery isn’t doing anything while the vehicle sits for hours, I don’t always know when I’m going to need to access that energy because my schedule (like most folks) is dynamic, not static. If you’re feeding the grid and depleting your battery, and then need to immediately travel a distance, I would think being caught short would only happen once and then most folks would skip out on returning electricity back to the grid.

In the video, they simply say “there’s a catch,” but don’t elaborate on much of the negative. The linked podcast talks more in-depth about both sides of the equation. Even the title suggests that. Still, more positive than negative for sure.

John, you are not meant to provide the juice in your battery for free to the utility. You sell this service to the utility. Everybody will have to make a choice between “full battery all the time, but I give up on substantial savings” and “I live with a potentially half-full battery but save”. It comes down to economics and I am sure the pricing will be adjusted until it works.

The typical Target is 80%, not 50%. The main thing that someone who opts in would notice is that the car might reach the target charge percent closer to when they leave work, not before lunch. Grid balance at night can be quite lucrative in certain markets.

That makes sense, thanks.

Working in the utility industry, this is exactly the discussions going on inside many of these companies. No real negatives here, just how do we make use of each unit of renewable energy effectively and productively.

I ponder whether a grid will even exist for rural and suburban people in 20+ years. As batteries and solar become less expensive, some brave people may decide to go completely off-grid. This would increase the per customer operation and maintenance costs for the utility, which they would have to pass onto the customer, which would cause more people to go off-grid. This is the same positive feedback loop that has made telephone landlines cost prohibitive. I suppose urban centers will always require a grid, as the surface area per person is too low to provide sufficient solar/wind to provide all power needs.

Model3 Owned- Niro EV TBD -Past-500e and Spark EV,

Just like not having cable and wired phone service or sewer, not a deal killer. Our brother in law just put in another 14kw array with a few batteries for overnight support bringing to 30kw on site; plenty for the 20acre working farm, house needs, and charging the EV.– totally ready for zombie apocalypse.

That’s totally awesome!

I think that interconnected micro grids will be the future for many or even most residential and rural areas. Really high power users like industrial will probably be more a hybrid of grid delivered and self-generation with some storage. As usual, Tesla will blaze the way for these big customers with their Giga-factories energy management systems.

I wonder what legal action utilities will try and take to block such actions? I know that utilities have certain rules that keep micro-communities from sharing power in that fashion. They don’t want folks turning their solar into their own utilities.

Plus an electrified fence with capacitors for that ‘wammo’ effect on the zombies😄

Why would you own a self-managed power plant when grid power is pennies. Heck in Texas it’s already 5.5c/kWh. No way I’d have all the hassle of making and storing my own power.

Loboc are you saying your purchase price 24/7/365 is 5 1/2 cents/kwh? Or is that the wholesale price to which distribution charges are added?

If the former, your ev’s must be almost free to refuel.

Wow, I thought the cheapest in Texas was El Paso at 8¢ or so, where is that price from? I’m averaging about 9.5¢ buy to a 10.2¢ sell… Still worth it at almost 3 years in I have a $900 credit and not paid an electric bill in all that time.

I love you, James! (in an environmental way of course) Keep spreading your success story. Millions of people, and corporations need to see the reality of solar savings. (I pay 19.8c/kWh retail grid)

Texas is a huge potential market for grid regulation services since it has a separate grid and tons of wind power.

Maybe they are just protecting their brand image? Feel good about pumping gas from a Shell station?

Since I’ve signed up for Net Metering, it is illegal for me in New York State to use batteries to supply power back to the grid for any reason.

So, Shell is offering only one scenario. Places with “SMART GRIDS” usually do not have the lowest costs. I as well as most of the general public, would vote for the scheme which produces the lowest cost, unfortunately, my State is somewhat caught up in the current hysteria in vogue.

The last time my utility tried jacking up rates to 20 cents/kwh to ‘pay for the Smart Grid’, it was on TV news for a week how everyone was calling their state and county reps, – of the course the utility quickly lowered rates to 8 cents/kwh the next month – just by coincidence of course. Hopefully, the next great brain idea that raises people’s rates will be met by an equal outpouring of rage to lower them back.

Smart grids as you call them might cost more in the short term but the improved reliability pays back quickly.

Per my utility in its Request for Rate Increase, they stated that Smart Meters neither increase service (read reliability), nor decrease rates (of course not, they’re asking for a rate increase).

There are some autonomous computerized switching distribution schemes, but that is independent of any smart metering scheme.

So sorry, my Utility, for one, formally disagrees with you.

You’re arguing that having monitor data at the customers premises does not improve reliability?

The real question is: how would a utility know without the data? 😀

Arguing for a 20th century grid is silly.

Hey, – tell me what data is vitally needed by the utility from an individual house. More to the point – reliability of what – and don’t say some totally generic thing like ‘the grid’.. Tell me exactly what problem you are trying to prevent.

In other words, are you conversant with what Utilities have to do, or are you just repeating catch phrases you’ve heard others speak of?

The issue for me is the life of my car battery. LI-Ion has a limited cycle life. Why would I want the utility constantly cycling my battery (granted not 100% cycle, but still) and reducing it’s life? Not worth the few pennies I’d get in return.

Some markets have revenue potential that is four orders of magnitude more than you suggest.

It’s all about ROI. If they are essentially paying for a new battery or even a new car sooner, then it makes sense.

Cycle life is an issue for the highest density batteries today, but it will fade with time. LiFePo4 is 15 years old and can do 5000 cycles. LTO is a decade old and can do 20,000. NCM is up to 3000 cycles for grid batteries and It seems Tesla improved NCA from ~800 cycles to 1500 or more a couple years ago.

This is just V2G. The ‘negative’ thing pointed out in the video is just the usual “if everyone came home at 6pm and plugged in…”, which will continue to be handled by time-of-use charging. V2G is a very long-term project, which will work as described when we’ve electrified a large fraction, like 20-50% of the fleet. V2G needs standards and control systems. In the mean time, we need to relentlessly push for EV acculturation and education.

Plus to add just the slight detail that the vast majority of utilities have absolutely no interest in “V2G”. Most utilities, if they don’t have sufficient facilities for a very hot day (for instance), will have load-shedding arrangements with a relatively few LARGE customers – who benefit since they have to exercise their generation equipment regularly ANYWAY, and the units might as well run when they are actually needed – killing 2 birds with one stone. There is interest in eliminating purchases of Peaker Plants for 2 BIG reasons: 1). Avoiding fuel consumption during peak loads helps improve their annual Emissions Profile. 2). The cost of Wind Power, (and to a lesser extent Solar Power) and a storage battery system that the UTILITY OWNS AND MAINTAINS near transmission voltage lines minimizes losses, and currently is CHEAPER. But dime store arrangements with dinky customers have always traditionally been handled with time-of-day, or demand charges – that avoid Picayune details. The reason the Utility operated system is far superior, besides what is mentioned above, is that NO-COST power factor correction (VARS) may be instantly changed since they directly control THEIR equipment – and there is no fiddly distribution network to get in… Read more »

The one thing that is never mentioned during these fairy tales is that a V2G system TRIPLES the charging loss of the car.

So if you want to have your Utility ultimately sell you much, much more electricity since your car is so much less efficient than it normally is, by all means go with V2G.

And make sure that it is a Nissan Leaf with a very hot battery to start with.

[citation needed]

How does that work?

Case 1). No V2G : The customer charges his car, and accepts the 90% efficiency getting the juice into the battery (which is NOT measured by the car but IS measured by the Revenue Meter on the back of the house). Case 2). V2G: Customer charges his car – 10% of the juice heats the garage – same as case 1). Then the utility pulls juice from the car battery at about a 85-92% efficiency, since the battery in the car is heating up as well as the synchronous inverter V2G gadget, as well as a typical 2-3% loss to the utility’s main distribution grid. The customer then repeats Case 1), and charges his car back to where he wanted it, whether he knows it or not, for the 90% efficiency – 10% loss. Oh, by the way – these losses are MUCH greater in hot weather since the air conditioning system has to run in the car with each step, another electricity loss. Another thing: My rule of thumb 90% charging efficiency may be giving the particular car the benefit of the doubt. One Tesla S owner here calculated his charging efficiency at 82 to 87% depending on when… Read more »

One negative comment – no positive comments….. If you disagree it is polite to say WHY.

The car computer can be set to be charged when I leave regularly. So it does open a window of time where my charge could be shared, if made worthwhile to me.