U.S. Air Force Base on Leafs

November 16, 2014 at 4:10 am Leave a comment


U.S. Air Force Staff Sargent Rey Sedantes of the 61st Civil Engineering and Logistics Squadron at Los Angeles Air Force Base receives instruction on how to operate a bidirectional electric vehicle charging station during a training demo in El Segundo, California.

Air Force Base on Leafs

What it means about what’s ahead

By Dean Adams Curtis

For a look at what’s ahead for electric vehicle (EV) and renewable-energy-equipped living, it is helpful to look at what the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines are up to.

The service branches of the U.S. Department of Defense are under legislative mandate and executive order to electrify as much of their non-tactical vehicle fleets as is economically feasible. The U.S. Air Force has approximately 200,000 vehicles. In this story we focus on forty of them.

On overcast November 14, 2014, the USAF announced an example of what’s ahead for a brighter future for us all, a demonstration smart grid at the Los Angeles Air Force Base (LAAFB) including 40 electric vehicles, such as Nissan Leafs and Phoenix electric buses. As cool as the project is, it’s what isn’t seen that’s revolutionary. Inside is what’s ahead for you, being demonstrated now by the Air Force at the home of the Space and Missile Systems Command.


This fleet of Leafs has something your run of the freeway fast lane Leaf currently does not have. The cars feature bi-directional charging software Nissan North America has equipped them with.

So what’s coming up for you, based upon what is already being shown in action at the space base?

The word bidirectional is key to the most important concept. These vehicles don’t just charge up from the grid, they can also send electrons from their onboard batteries back through the charging stations and into, that’s right INTO, the electric grid.

Why is this so important? And why would you want to discharge your EV’s battery anyway?

It means you can sell your excess electrons, if you choose to do so. Once you’ve used all you need to of the electrons stored in your EV’s battery for your daily travels, as well as for your residential needs, you may well decide that, for the right price, you’d be interested in selling spare electrons that your residential renewal energy resources have generated.

To whom? To your utility, to your neighbors, to whomever wants them. Your utility, instead of meeting demand for electrons by using coal, gas, or nuclear, all of which have the benefit of being constant, can utilize more renewables, which are not constant, by buying what electrons they need to keep the power level consistent. Are40LeafBiDirectionalChargingFleet-Charging you willing to sell?

Look at it this way, in your current/future domicile you do/will generate power from renewable sources, mainly solar and wind. The same if you’re in a condo association or a coop building sharing renewable energy resources that are highly variable, as the Sun goes behind clouds, rises and sets. Up and down goes the number of electrons that solar cells generate.

That’s why batteries come in handy. You will need a battery energy storage system (BESS) to store the electrons generated by highly variable residential renewable energy resources.

And where is the best BESS in your future casa going to be stashed?

In your electric vehicle.

Your future home will have a smart microgrid. The Air Force space base has a smart grid, so shouldn’t we all? Yes. What’s so smart about a smart grid anyway? Imagine every electricity using device in your residence having a built in Wi-Fi phone. Each electrical device is able to dial back, or to dial up its power usage, on demand. Once they’re connected to your EV BESS and BESS’s partner DRAS, a demand response automation system, you’re set to be in control of and empowered by your electrical power more than you already are.

40LeafBiDirectionalChargingFleetBehindChargersAnd you’re also set to augment your income via your residence renewable energy resources and profit from your energy conservation by having more electrons to sell back to the grid. You set the price at which you’re willing to sell, and how much power you’re willing to sell, then go on with your day and let your DRAS and other software take care of the transaction if someone decides to buy.

Looking forward to making money by buying your EV and installing renewable power? Here are a few nuts and bolts. The vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capable vehicles at the LAAFB participate in the fast response California Independent System Operator (CAISO) markets. Every 4 seconds the DRAS receives secure CAISO instructions and forwards, them using the Open Automated Demand Response (OpenADR) protocol, to EV charging-discharging software and hardware. LAAFBv2gChargerThe LAAFB is utilizing Bosch Software Innovations’ eMobility Solution fleet management software suite for their charging-discharging (bi-directional charging).

Bigger still, the LAAFB is one of five V2G project locations of a larger U.S. Department of Defense V2G project, which also includes Joint Base and Army installations. The Air Force plans to expand the V2G demonstration next to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. The service will also continue to look for additional capabilities, such as utilizing used batteries as a form of on-base energy storage.

Knowing that in the future, if you decide to, you will be able to utilize used EV batteries in your residential battery rack, while they still have 50 to 80% of their capacity to store electrons, is a great awareness to counter concern about buying an EV due to worry about the lifespan of their batteries.

And finishing up with the U.S. Department of Defense V2G project, the second phase involves approximately 500 medium duty EV trucks at six military bases, including L.A., and a third phase will expand the EV fleet to approximately 1,500 vehicles. The entire program will include V2G activity.



Entry filed under: Car Reviews.

2014 Nissan NV200 – Cargo van with families in mind Audi, Honda, and Toyota have hydrogen fuel cell vehicle concept vehicles now, with production starting in 2015

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