It’s not just California’s power grid that sucks. As we move into the era of electric cars and millions of EV chargers, states across the country are facing the reality of grids that aren’t up to the task of increasing demand and extreme weather. In North Carolina, the situation isn’t much different, and Star News recently reported the state’s Duke Energy is partnering with Ford to get some owners of the F-150 Lightning to help with the state’s power grid when demand is high.
The pilot program will see Lightning owners agree to let Duke Energy use their truck to draw power for the grid up to three times a month and only during peak energy periods in winter or summer. During the rest of the year, the program will use energy from the pickup “for testing research purposes and to support the energy grid during hours of peak usage.”
It’s not just a simple matter of owning an F-150 Lightning and enrolling in the program. The whole program, detailed in a release in August, relies on the Lightning’s V2G or vehicle to grid tech, which allows the truck to redirect energy back to the grid through an owner’s home. But the owner would also have to have a special software package from Ford as well as what’s described as “certain technologies at home” for everything to work when the program starts next year.
The whole program is expected to cost half a million dollars and only be available to 100 Duke Energy customers in the Western part of the state. Stan Cross, the policy director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy thinks the program is a great real-world test for EVs. “We need real-world projects to test and understand the grid benefits EVs can deliver, and vehicle-to-grid technology is very promising. It shows real possibilities and another potential value for EV consumers” he said.
One downside to all of this? Duke Energy is only offering to take $25 off F-150 Lightning owner’s lease payments in exchange for the energy, but every little bit helps I guess.