In the coming decade, the energy stored in plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) batteries will increasingly be made available to commercial buildings with intelligent building energy management systems (BEMS) to proactively manage energy consumption and costs.
These concepts, known as vehicle-to-building (V2B) and vehicle-to-home (V2H) technology, have the potential to provide storage capacity to benefit both vehicle and building owners by offsetting some of the higher cost of PEVs, lowering buildings’ energy costs, and providing reliable emergency backup services.
V2B technologies have many commonalities with those required for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) services. However, whereas V2G requires smart grid technology, V2B activities only require communication between a building and its energy management systems, EV charging equipment, and PEVs that are on the market today.
Pike Research forecasts that annual investments in upgrades to vehicles and to buildings, which include power electronics, inverters, and power management software, will grow to more than $76 million worldwide, annually, by 2020. Vehicle investment to enable V2B will be about $27 million worldwide annually by then.
Numerous pilot projects are now underway around the world to develop and test V2B technologies. The majority of these programs are part of larger projects that are testing microgrid and smart grid technologies. V2B is one element that is being integrated with renewable energy generation, smart buildings, smart EV charging, and in some cases, stationary backup storage.
Although recent projects have grown more ambitious, with the number of PEVs participating in the projects increasing, they are still at the scale of integrating hundreds, and not yet thousands of vehicles.
Automotive and building companies in Japan responded to the widespread loss of grid power after the 2011 tsunami, by leading the world in developing V2H technology. For instance, the first model home equipped with V2H technology was showcased in late August in Kanagawa-Ken, near Tokyo, with an aim to start selling homes in the fall of 2012.
The use of a PEV for V2B functions is secondary to its use in transportation and requires the vehicle to be parked at a location where it can be connected to a building. Fleets, particularly those with fixed routes, consistent availability, and a centralized location when not in service, have driving profiles that are suitable for the additional task of providing V2B services.