Study looks at using EVs to power homes

Study looks at using EVs to power homes

Dendo Drive House technology lets a PHEV feed power back to a house.
Dendo Drive House technology lets a PHEV feed power back to a house.

A public-private study on a new business model allowing electric vehicles to power houses to cut electricity bills can help promote EVs, says a Chulalongkorn University researcher, though some car owners are not confident the move will be powerful enough to steer them away from oil-fuelled engines.

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) and Mitsubishi Motors Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this month to spend three years studying how a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) can supply power back to homes and even the state grid, allowing for smarter management of electricity as well as EV promotion.

Mitsubishi will use its Outlander PHEV in the test and introduce its Dendo Drive House technology, which serves as a charger of EVs and a receiver of electricity from the hybrid cars.

"This will be another business model that can help draw people's interest towards EVs," said Jakapong Pongthanaisawan, an EV researcher at Chulalongkorn University's Energy Research Institute.

The idea is to add utility to EVs, making them a more attractive choice despite relatively high prices versus conventional cars, said Mr Jakapong. There are also concerns over insufficient charging outlets in public places.

He said if EVs are used for driving purposes alone, it may not be enough to prompt people to buy them, especially after they consider a trade-off between car prices and such benefits as energy saving.

Mr Jakapong said the study is another attempt to promote EVs via the state and private sector, though both need to do more to popularise the vehicles.

"I think it's impossible," said a car owner who requested anonymity.

Despite the additional benefits to help motorists better plan their power usage, the owner said it is still hard to believe they will buy EVs, including PHEVs which allow them to generate electricity while driving.

Motorists are charged for charging their cars and batteries may be used up, leaving nothing to power their houses, said the car owner.

The owner is one of a number of motorists interviewed by the Bangkok Post at the crowded Yaowarat and Sam Yan areas in Bangkok. Others welcomed the idea.

"We may see electric cars help householders during blackouts in the future," said businessman Suttiruk Tongchai.

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