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EV Batteries Can Power a Lot More Than Vasectomies
David Shultz

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If you had “truck powers vasectomy” on your 2022 bingo card then step right up and claim your prize, Nostradamus. Yes—a Rivian R1T pickup truck was used as a power source for a vasectomy after a blackout left a clinic in Texas without electricity, and it was all over the news last week. There’s a truck nuts joke in here somewhere, but I’m going to leave it…hanging.

As much as this makes me smile, it also speaks to one of the often-overlooked benefits of EVs. They’re just big ol’ batteries on wheels. During the most recent heatwave, I wrote about how EVs could actually be used to add power back into the grid when electricity is scarce. To put into perspective just how much energy is in a 135 kWh battery, like the one found in a R1T, I’ve come up with a list of other stuff you could do, too.

* The average U.S. home uses 30 kWh of energy per day, so you could use your truck to make it through a four-day-long blackout with room to spare. A doomsday prepper’s dream!
* The average domestic refrigerator uses 2 kWh of energy per day, so you could use your truck to keep leftover lasagna cold for 67.5 days—which is probably about 63.5 days more than you should keep leftover lasagna in the fridge, but I’m not here to tell you how to live your life.
* An average window air conditioner uses ~900 watts, or 21.6 kWh per day. That’s six days of runtime.
* A hot tub uses about 9 kWh of energy per day. That’s 16 days of run party time.
* A desktop computer plus monitor is ~4.8 kWh per day. 28 days of runtime.
* The iPhone 14 Pro Max comes with a 16.68 watt hour battery, meaning you could charge it up 8,093 times. That comes out to 22 years of use if you charge once per day.
* An electric chainsaw pulls around 1200 watts, so you could keep one running continuously for 4.67 days, which is plenty of time to drive your neighbors to the brink of insanity.
* An electric toothbrush uses .3kWh of energy per year, so one Rivian battery should get your family through the next 15 generations of dental hygiene.

Clearly, some of these are more feasible than others. You actually could charge up an electric chainsaw using an EV. You can certainly charge your phone with one. But there’s not really infrastructure to run your house with your car battery. You could bring all your appliances out and plug them into the car one by one, but that’s hardly practical and your house doesn’t have a cord…yet.

Likewise, infrastructure that would enable the grid to really take advantage of the growing number of privately owned battery storage reserves (EVs) is still in development. But as California has recently seen, batteries are an incredibly powerful way to deal with short-term grid stress. If EVs ever gain the market penetration that the state and the White House are targeting, they’ll present an enormous opportunity to stabilize electricity supply for houses, neighborhoods, and the entire grid. Companies like Pecan Street, NUVVE Holding Corp, Jedlix, IoTecha, Green Energy Wallet, and V2G EVSE are all racing to take advantage of this emerging market.

This concept of vehicle-to-grid-storage is still in its infancy and will require that chargers of the future work both ways. They’ll need to be able to assess when the grid needs energy, when the vehicle needs energy, and the most cost-effective way to ferry electrons between the two. When done correctly, the technology could allow EV owners to profit by filling up their battery when grid demand is at its lowest (and energy is cheapest) and then selling the energy back to the grid during peak hours when the cost of electrons is at a premium. This, of course, adds wear and tear to your vehicle’s battery, but the payoff could be well worth it, effectively reducing the ( still way too high) cost of EV ownership. - David Shultz

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