Road trial of plug-in hybrid vehicles underway


Sydney : A road trial of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) is underway. Over the next three months, staff from an energy distribution company will use the PHEVs for commuting to work and for leisure as part of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) project.

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CSIRO engineers have modified the PHEVs to carry a larger six kw battery and a charger, to allow the cars to plug into and charge from the grid or from on-site renewable energy sources.

CSIRO scientist Phillip Paevere said the road trial is collecting extensive information on how the existing PHEV technology could be used for a new application: using the car as a large mobile battery which can be integrated and used at home.

“The PHEVs have been fitted with instruments which will monitor the travel patterns of different users, and the residual battery power left in the car at the end of the day could be available for other uses,” Paevere said.

“When not needed, the parked car in the driveway could potentially become a large battery store and energy source for the house, running appliances or storing off-peak or surplus electricity generated from on-site renewable generators, such as solar panels.”

PHEVs have the potential to reduce our emissions and may also provide a way to manage peak demand on the electricity grid, a CSIRO release said.

Furthermore, the car battery can be drawn upon to provide power during peak periods of demand, prevent blackouts when there is a network supply interruption and assist in maintaining the overall stability of the network.