We have reached the tipping point in the transport industry’s progress towards electrification – and this is the most enjoyable and rewarding time of my 31-year career working in sustainability at Ford Motor Co.
Although the challenges associated with the transition to electric vehicle transport are great, they have huge potential for positive change, to our environment and to the health of the general public.
One question I am asked is how our electric power grid infrastructure could keep up with the additional demand from charging millions of EVs every day. While the answer isn’t simple, Ford is introducing solutions to turn this grid anxiety into grid confidence.
Power outages are due to grid pressure more than twice every year since the early 2000s, the Associated Press reported in April 2022. Experts say that although electric vehicles today are a small factor in grid pressure, they have the potential to be a significant burden on electricity needs.
As a global mobility company preparing for the electric vehicle revolution, we think carefully about this question, as we aim to sell 2 million EVs worldwide by 2026. As part of that planning, we have worked with public utilities to come on the story. technology that supports grid resilience through innovation in the vehicle-to-grid space, also known as bi-directional charging.
Power of V2G
We are working on turning every Ford EV into a virtual power plant that can be part of a common power grid solution. Unlike traditional gas-powered vehicles, EVs have huge batteries that store energy for power. But because we don’t drive all day every day, we have an opportunity to connect our customers and public utilities to use the energy stored in EV batteries to help power homes, workplaces, and more—and, over time , return power directly. to the grid.
This solution could help alleviate energy shortages during peak hours of use when the power grid would be under pressure. The first Ford industry Smart Backup Powercapable of connecting an F-150 Lightning to a home’s electrical system to provide power for up to 10 days in an outage, laying the foundation for new energy management possibilities.
We are not alone in developing V2G technology, and we applaud the other vehicle manufacturers and charging startups around the world who are also working to put V2G in the hands of EV customers. And government also has a role to play in helping to create the conditions for innovation to succeed. Cooperation and collaboration are key to achieving V2G at scale.
To accelerate our work in the V2G space, Ford is one of the founders of the Virtual Power Plant Partnership, an initiative that aims to catalyze industry and policy change to support the scaling of virtual power plants. This extension of EV capability is something our team at Ford is thinking about every day to create a more sustainable energy future that supports customers and communities.
Ford’s collaborations with Duke Energy and Pacific Gas and Electric They are great examples of how V2G technology can revolutionize the way we consume and distribute energy. We are conducting trials that explore the capabilities of bi-directional charging infrastructure that would support the grid, while providing financial incentives to our EV drivers – essentially building a safety net for our nation’s power grid using energy stored from EV batteries.
While the challenges of EV adoption and grid pressure are real, the solution lies in the integration of technology such as V2G, along with collaborative efforts among automakers, utility companies and policymakers.
We at Ford are doing our part to make these solutions a reality – both for the power grid and our customers.
Cynthia Williams is a member of the One Planet advisory council. Learn more about her work here.