By Ben Schiller
But the concept could also help offset the currently high cost of EVs against conventional vehicles.
The Pentagon recently announced a $20 million program to lease 500 EVs at six of its installations. The EVs, which include passenger cars, trucks, and buses, will cost between $30,000 to $100,000, but supply as much as $7,300 a year in power back to the grid, potentially making EVs a more reasonable investment.
"It could mean we get the vehicles at no cost, which--if we are able to--would change the industry and would certainly help the American public," Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy, and environment, told the Federal Times.
For example, the Air Force plans to replace 43 gas and diesel power vehicles with EVs, and then build charging stations to send power back to the grid, when necessary. A Pentagon study indicates that an electric sedan might earn as much as $150 a month, if a utility could call on the battery for 73% of time it is not in use.
"If it's true that we can knock off thousands of dollars a year on a leased vehicle, it makes an awfully compelling case to move forward much more broadly," says Camron Gorguinpour, special assistant to the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment, and logistics.
Instead of a premium purchase, maybe we'll come to see EVs as an investment in the grid's reliability.
Copyright 2013 by Fast Company. Reprinted with permission.