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Vehicle-to-Building Technology Rises With PEV Sales

Vehicle-to-building technology, which makes energy stored in plug-in electric vehicle batteries available to commercial and residential buildings, is garnering new attention as PEV sales climb, according to a report by Navigant Research.

The study forecasts nearly 200,000 PEVs outfitted with V2B technology will be sold from 2012 through 2020. Despite that growth, V2B  is still three to five years away from becoming a commercially viable technology due to the cost of retrofitting vehicles with the technology and tepid demand caused by a lack of customer understanding, according to the report.

Vehicle to Building Technologies examines the market potential for V2B technologies targeted at demand charge avoidance, peak shaving, time-of-use pricing and other utility energy pricing programs designed to reduce the cost of building operations and provide emergency backup power. The study analyzes technology and government policy issues related to V2B as well as key barriers to adoption.

There are numerous pilot projects around the world developing and testing V2B technologies. Most of these are part of larger projects testing microgrid and smart grid technologies, the report says. V2B is one technology that is being integrated with renewable energy generation, smart buildings, smart EV charging, and in some cases, stationary backup storage.

Some recent V2B pilots have increased the number of plug-in electric vehicles participating in the project. However, these projects are still small in scale and integrate hundreds, not thousands, of PEVs, the report says.

For a PEV to be able to participate in bi-directional power exchange with a building, upgrades are required for the vehicle and the premises it will charge, the report says. Annual infrastructure upgrades, which include power electronics, inverters and power management software, will growth to nearly $76 million worldwide by 2020. The annual vehicle investment required to enable V2B will reach about $27 million by 2020, according to the report.

A separate study released last year predicted some EV companies will be forced to exit the market or be acquired as capital shifts from EVs to battery components in 2013. The report by Pike Research, now known as Navigant Research, forecast more than 210,000 PEVs will be sold globally in 2013.

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