At least once every couple of weeks, I field a question about why I think electric vehicles are better for the environment than their fossil fuel-guzzling counterparts, when most of our electricity here in the U.S. is made in coal-fired power plants. My patent answer is usually something along the lines of “because it’s a whole lot easier to control emissions from one power plant than a million tailpipes” or “because we’re moving away from that dirty stuff.” I didn’t feel educated enough, and certainly not patient enough, to give a better answer than that.

Until now.

I just finished reading Leonard Beck’s V2G-101, and I feel a whole lot more knowledgeable and ready to take on nay-sayers now, thank you very much. This book is amazingly detailed, covering the history and future of automobiles, and how and why we need fuel them. But it’s written without any of that confusing technical jargon most of us who didn’t attend MIT can’t decipher. As the title implies, it’s laid out like a textbook, chock full of bullet points, calculators, summaries, review questions, charts, diagrams, and photographs. There’s also a helpful index in the back, if you’re just interested in researching a specific topic, and a handy set of appendices that list hybrid, plug-in, and other electric vehicles, going all the way back to the early 20th century.

The book opens with the author’s vision for the near future — what he thinks the world should be like in the year 2020. In Beck’s perfect 2020, we’ll all be using our electric vehicles for transportation and for powering our homes, schools, and businesses. That right: we’ll be using our electric vehicles to POWER other things. Beck uses school buses as an example. They sit idle for most of the day, and again for months each year. Why not use them to store energy and return it to the grid, or use them as generators to power the schools they serve?  Brilliant!

I can’t say enough about how well this book explains the technical aspects of vehicle-to-grid technology, and all of its implications. The author obviously cares a great deal about the topic, and has done his research.

To learn more about Beck or his book, visit or, better yet, the V2G-101 site.

Source: V2G-101 (Len Beck)