Mobile batteries

Published: Saturday 15 November 1997

A scientist in the US envisions that owners of tomorrow's electric cars would not only buy electricity for their vehicles but they could also be able to sell it back. Willett Kempton at the University of Delaware, Newark, usa, believes that these cars could replace many power-generating plants. Electric cars could charge during night, when electricity is abundant, and then be plugged into the power grid to provide peak-time electricity. Fuel-cell cars that would generate their own electricity, could sell power they had created, rather than simply storing electricity. The researcher says that the cars could be programmed to retain enough charge to power the vehicles for planned journeys. However, the main loss to the owners would be to buy batteries because they can be charged only for limited times. Wavedriver, an electric car research company in Littlington, Hertfordshire, UK, has developed a prototype system that would help cars feed power back to the grid (New Scientist, Vol 155, No 2099).

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