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Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Energy Transformed Research Flagship

CSIRO, in conjunction with Victorian energy distributorSP AusNet, is evaluating the impact and benefits of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the electricity network,and how this low emission transport option could be integratedinto our homes and cities in the future. CSIRO SP AusNet PHEV Road Trial
Three standard Toyota Prius have been converted into PHEVs by fitting a battery charger into each vehicle and replacing the existing battery pack with a battery five times larger than the original. This larger battery will enable the cars to be driven at highway speeds on electric power, and then recharge directly by plugging into the electricity grid. Six SP AusNet employees will drive the PHEVs over a three month monitored trial period. Data collectors have been fitted into each vehicle to collect information on the how the cars perform under normal driving conditions. Although PHEVs are not new, these cars will be able to reach highway speeds running on electric power, something which most existing PHEVs cannot achieve. The data obtained from the road trial will provide invaluable insight into how this technology can be applied in the future. The road trial has been designed to give a view of the travel patterns of users, and an understanding of the capacity left in the batteries after a normal day of motoring use, which may then be available to use in a home.

> The PHEV road trial will monitor the travel patterns, battery capacity and performance of the cars, providing invaluable information into how this technology can be applied in the future.

What is a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle?

A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) is a vehicle that is powered by a conventional combustion engine, and uses battery-driven electric motors to improve fuel efficiency. HEV batteries batteries are charged by the combustion engine, and also using energy generated during braking. HEVsare powered by liquid fuel only. A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is a hybrid vehicle with larger batteries that can also be recharged by connecting to a standard household power point or a special charging point. PHEVs are powered by liquid fuel and electricity from the grid. PHEVs are highly fuel efficient requiring little petroleum-based fuel to drive, and can also be designed to use renewable and alternative fuels instead of petrol or diesel. The electricity for PHEV charging can potentially be provided by renewable sources like solar panels.

Because of the larger batteries, PHEVS can drive faster and further than HEVS in electric-only mode. In a typical day, a PHEV driver could undertake the daily commute to work on electric power (currently up to around 40 km), then plug-in and recharge overnight to be ready to use again in the morning.

Benefits of PHEVs
Reduce greenhouse and noxious gas emissions; environmental and public health benefits Convenient battery recharging at home with electricity from the grid or from renewable sources Flexible fuelling options such as electricity or petrol Cheap running cost Reduce fuel use and increase fuel efficiency Can be used as energy storage and feed power back into the grid or home energy system Can be intelligently used to offset peak electricity demand

> PHEVs can be recharged by connecting to a standard household power point or a special charging point.

Future Applications
Car Grid Home Integration
These plug-in cars have the potential to also feed energy back into the grid and so may act as energy stores (mobile batteries). The vehicle-to-grid connection can work on a two-way energy flow between the PHEV and the local utility grid.

PHEV technology therefore has the potential to assist in smoothing out peak demand on the electricity grid with intelligent demand management. It also has the potential to create further demand upon the grid, depending on when the vehicle is being re-charged. Shifting the time when PHEVs are recharging from the grid to periods of low demand would shave peak demand. Furthermore, the car battery can be drawn upon during peak periods of demand which may assist in maintaining the stability in the network and preventing blackouts. Part of this CSIRO SP AusNet project is gathering information on when and how much electricity these cars consume when recharging from the grid. This information may be used to develop future demand management strategies for recharging PHEVs to mitigate peak demand loads. A further extension of this project involves a vehicle-to-grid-to-home connection where the flow of energy can be managed in a three-way system.

The Electric Driveway

A new CSIRO project called TheElectric Driveway is exploring synergies between electric vehicles and home energy management. One of the first field trials in the project will integrate a PHEV into the Australian Zero Emissions House (ZEH) so that the vehicle can be used for transport and also as an energy storage for the house. The car battery will be used to store off-peak electricity or energy generated from solar panels during the day so that the stored energy could be used to run appliances at night during peak demand. The ZEH project aims to construct a demonstration house that will not produce any CO2 or other greenhouse gases as a direct or indirect result of the energy use in the house or on the site. This house will use 70 per cent less energy than a traditional home of similar size and generate its own energy on site from solar panels built into the roof. The use of electric vehicles in Australia is predicted to grow significantly over the next ten years.

> CSIRO engineers fitted a larger battery pack and battery charger tothe PHEV trial cars.

For further information: CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems Dr Phillip Paevere +61 3 9252 6220