Tesla car batteries are being used in a study on how EVs could help power the grid

Credit: Tesla Inc.

In an announcement on Wednesday, the University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia stated that it would be recruiting Tesla owners across the globe to analyze if the all-electric vehicles’ spare battery capacity could be utilized to support the energy grid — and perhaps even power homes in the near future. 

To conduct the study, the University of Queensland has partnered with EV data analytics platform Teslascope, which currently tracks the developments in the electric vehicle maker’s software and features. The UQ stated that the project would be a world-first trial that could determine how electric vehicle owners currently drive and charge their cars. 

Tesla owners from the United States, Australia, Norway, Canada, Germany, Sweden, and Britain could take part in the study. As noted by the university, the initiative could be expanded later on to include vehicles from other electric vehicle companies as well. These could include cars from new EV startups such as Lucid, which already promotes vehicle-to-grid features on its Air sedan. Vehicles from veteran automakers such as the Ford F-150 Lightning could also be used for the study.  

According to the researchers at the UQ, most electric vehicles today are driven only 1/8th of their driving range. This suggests that there are opportunities to store energy and export power to the grid using solutions such as vehicle-to-grid chargers. Jake Whitehead, Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, described the potential of the study in a statement to Reuters

“(The study) will not only help to inform EV policy internationally but importantly assess the feasibility of using EVs as batteries-on-wheels,” Whitehead said. 

Tesla’s vehicles today are not shipped with vehicle-to-grid features, though CEO Elon Musk has noted in the past that it may be worth revisiting the technology. Last year, Tesla hacker-enthusiast @greentheonly mentioned that some references to V2G solutions have actually been in Tesla’s vehicles for some time. This is not a confirmation that Tesla would be releasing V2G features anytime soon, of course, but it does show that the company may be exploring the technology to some degree. 

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Tesla car batteries are being used in a study on how EVs could help power the grid
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