Monday, December 6, 2010

Get Ready, Grid - First Wave of Volts Being Born

Lovingly hand-assembled one at a time like a Phantom?  Uhhh, no.  The Volt manufacturing process seems to draw more from Tron than from Rolls Royce. Check it great video HERE.

So GM has invested big time in being able to create a large number of Volts fast. Good thing, because GE recently committed to buying 12,000 Volts next year, and sales are just beginning in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Michigan.

I've always felt that the huge efforts to accelerate the arrival of the Smart Grid at residences was a case of too much spending for too little benefit, and that the prospect of trimming 5-15% off their home electric bill would not be a sufficient motivator for the majority of Americans to change their behaviors

But electric vehicles (EVs) like the Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) like the Chevy Volt, depending on their rate of adoption, may have me revising that opinion. You see, while they are charging, each of these cars draws the electricity of another entire house (or more). That's enough electricity use to make savings more desirable, and enough additional demand to prompt utilities to closely monitor which neighborhoods are adding EVs the fastest, so as to avoid overloading local transformers through preemptive, targeted upgrades.

Let the good times roll. Oh, and this just in via a sharp-eyed colleague and worth your time: Why Electric Cars will Drive the Smart Grid.

Photo credit: Betsy Weber on

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