California power companies are salivating at the idea of plug-in hybrid vehicles that would provide extended all-electric travel using bigger batteries that are recharged from the conventional power grid.
For one thing, the utilities would make money selling the extra juice. For another, all that stored power could come in handy when demand for electricity outstrips supply and rolling blackouts are threatened.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. demonstrated bidirectional, or vehicle-to-grid, technology in San Francisco this month, using a Toyota Motor Corp. Prius modified by Energy CS, a Monrovia firm that develops plug-in hybrid conversions.
After the car's extra lithium-ion battery was charged, a PG&E technician flipped a switch and the power in the battery started flowing back onto the grid, causing the electric meter monitoring the activity to start running backward.