As more and more hybrid vehicles take to the roads across the world, one question remains relatively unanswered. What are we going to do with all of the batteries when they are no longer suitable for use in the hybrid vehicle they were designed for?
Toyota believes they have come up with a valid answer to this lingering question. Toyota sees the concept of a future opportunity they term the "Hybrid Home" The "Hybrid Home" could use new batteries or partially depleted batteries extracted from vehicles on the road. They envision the system being tied in with solar panels or wind generators and at least partially powering a traditional home.
The "Hybrid Home" would function as follows. Wind or sun will create energy that will be converted to electricity through solar panels mounted on rooftops or wind generators positioned in the backyard. The panels and wind generators will send electricity to the batteries located within the house. The batteries will store the energy for one of two purposes. The purposes include powering the home during peak demand times, or sending stored energy back to the grid.
Since the average U.S. home consumes 7kW, the battery setup could help to offset some of the energy usage, or eliminate energy usage if the battery and generator setup is sufficiently sized to do so.
Toyota's advanced powertrain program manager Justin Ward presents an overview of the "Hybrid Home" by saying, "A consumer comes home at 5 pm, plugs their car into the battery charger, turns their lights and air conditioning on, and all of a sudden you just added to the peak load. This doesn't make any sense. Unexpected and premature transformer failures are occurring as a result. But now you have to have a way to store that energy. So when you start thinking about it, a hybrid home sounds really interesting"
A hybrid home could act as a buffer to the increasing demand on our electrical grid. With perhaps millions of EVs and plug-in hybrids hitting our roads soon, the electrical demand is sure to rise. With these vehicles, comes expansive battery packs that could be put to use long after their service life in the vehicle. A hybrid home seems to be a fancy energy recycling method that could provide reassurance against future electrical grid failures.
Source: Wards Auto (Login required)