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Electric Vehicle Grid Integration

Illustration of a house with a roof-top photovoltaic system. A wind turbine and utility towers appear in the background. A car, parked in the garage, is connected via a power cord to a household outlet.

A sustainable transportation future will rely on multiple solutions, including innovative systems connecting vehicles, utilities, renewable energy sources, and buildings.
Illustration by Josh Bauer, NREL

Photo of two cars parked under a solar array.

NREL uses this 18-kilowatt photovoltaic array with vehicle-to-grid technology components to test various configuration options.
Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

NREL's electric vehicle grid integration work supports the development and implementation of electrified transportation systems, particularly those that integrate renewable-based vehicle charging systems.

Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs)—including all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles—offer the opportunity to shift transportation energy demands from petroleum to electricity, but broad adoption will require integration with other energy systems.

Research at NREL's Vehicle Testing and Integration Facility examines the interaction of building energy systems, utility grids, renewable energy sources, and PEVs—integrating energy management solutions and maximizing potential greenhouse gas reductions and cost savings. This facility is used in tandem with NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility to explore these approaches at a systems scale.

Research Focus

NREL collaborates with automakers, charging station manufacturers, utilities, fleet operators, and other national laboratories to enable PEV communication with the smart grid and to create opportunities for vehicles to play an active role in building and grid management.

NREL-designed strategies and models support the development of transportation electrification and the expansion of renewable generation through:

  • Understanding vehicle use profiles, PEV benefits, and battery life challenges
  • Integrating renewable resources (solar and wind) with vehicle charging
  • Developing and testing grid interoperability standards
  • Exploring grid services technology opportunities.

Integrated systems functionality efforts focus on:

  • Managed charging — Evaluating the functionality and value of load management to reduce charging costs and contribute to standards development
  • Emergency backup power — Exploring strategies to enable the export of vehicle power to assist in grid outages and disaster-recovery efforts
  • Local power quality — Leverage charge system power electronics to monitor and enhance local power quality and improve grid stability in scenarios with a high concentration of renewables
  • Bi-directional power flow — Developing and evaluating integrated vehicle-to-grid systems for reducing peak-power demands.

NREL is also exploring the potential of wireless power transfer technologies, including electrified roadways, to reduce petroleum consumption and vehicle operating costs while extending EV range, as depicted in this e-roadway animation.

Publications

NREL's Publications Database offers a wide variety of documents related to plug-in electric vehicles, grid integration, renewable generation, and electrified transportation. The following selection provides a sampling of documents about NREL's electric vehicle grid integration research and demonstration efforts.

For more information about NREL's electric vehicle grid integration work, contact Tony Markel.