Electric Driveway: vehicles and household power
CSIRO’s Electric Driveway project, is working on ways to integrate electric vehicles (EVs) into household power systems, where they can act as a distributed system for storing off-peak power from the national grid or local sources.
1 December 2010 | Updated 14 October 2011
Energy use in our homes and petrol use in our cars is responsible for a large share of greenhouse gas emissions, both in Australia and the world.
The transport sector accounts for 14 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions and energy use in our homes contributes 13 per cent.
Through the Electric Driveway project, CSIRO is researching the overlap between different areas of the transport and electricity sector which can be exploited to help reduce emissions created from electricity generation and transport.
The number of electric vehicles (EVs) and homes is predicted to increase significantly in Australia in the next 10 years.
This increased electricity demand will have serious implications for Australia’s electricity network and greenhouse gas emissions.
CSIRO’s Energy Transformed Flagship is evaluating the benefits and impact of electric vehicles, on energy systems in our homes and the wider electricity grid, under Australian conditions.
The Electric Driveway
CSIRO’s Electric Driveway project is working on ways to integrate EVs into household power systems where they can act as a distributed system for storing off-peak power from the national grid or from on-site renewable sources.
Charging EVs at home will significantly increase home electricity use and wide-scale adoption of EVs also has the potential to increase peak demand on the wider electricity grid.
This project aims to develop specific technology focused on integrating EVs into home energy systems and electricity distribution networks, and model and test how EVs can be used to manage peak electricity demand.
By controlling when EVs are recharging from the electricity network, the burden of demand could potentially be shifted.
Furthermore, the car battery can also be drawn upon to provide power to individual homes - or the grid - during peak periods of demand, helping to prevent blackouts when there is a supply interruption in the network.
Researchers are also investigating if EVs can be used like a mobile distributed energy storage system to assist in maintaining power quality and the overall stability of the network.
The Electric Driveway project will run for three years and undertake the first comprehensive assessment of the potential for EV interacting with the Australian electricity grid.
Real world trials
The project involves a number of real world field trials:
- In partnership with Victorian energy provider SP AusNet, CSIRO engineers converted three Toyota Prius vehicles to plug-in hybrid cars which are currently being road tested, and are providing information on driver usage patterns and residual battery capacity.
- CSIRO, in partnership with the Victoria Government, is involved in the largest real world trial of electric vehicles in Australia. The trial will involve over sixty electric vehicles deployed across Victoria and collect information on how these cars interact with the current electricity system, providing an insight into the barriers, impact and benefits this technology will have on Australia's future electricity network.
- CSIRO in partnership with Blade Electric Vehicles are developing and testing two special-purpose EVs which will be integrated with a home energy management system, and used to partially power the homes they plug into.
- CSIRO, with members of the Australian Zero Emission House (AusZEH) consortium, designed and built a contemporary yet future ready AusZEH demonstration house with inbuilt technology supporting the integration of an electric vehicle with the home energy management systems. The demonstration house provides an example of how this EV technology can be integrated into homes.
Read about the ongoing progress of Electric Driveway research.