Can electric cars reduce peaking?

One of the less-understood parts of electrical utilities is the problem of “peaking,” which comes in different forms. Under times of high demand, such as a run of very hot days, power plants may need to call upon reserve generators to satisfy demand. This is an expensive practice, partly because “peaking plants” held in reserve are normally older, less efficient, and used only a few times a year, but must be manned and maintained at all times. Buying power from other utilities can be even more expensive.

This is one reason why some utilities have invested in solar power (which works best in precisely the conditions where peaking is usually needed) and supported electric cars (which they figured would be charged at night, when power demand is usually low).

One way to avoid peaking is to have reserves. Detroit’s NextEnergy nonprofit energy technology group and Chrysler have partnered to see if electric cars could act as a reserve for utilities. One vehicle cannot make a difference, but thousands might. They are working on a pilot project using four electric minivans, whose charging module can simulate any electric grid in the world.

If enough EVs were linked together and their combined surplus power was sold to utilities, they could offset demand surges. Tapping this reservoir would cut costs for utility companies, while putting money into the pockets of EV owners.

A mini-grid composed of EVs would enable “peak-shaving,” where EV owners could draw from their own power reserves during those hours when demand (and the price) for electricity is highest.

EVs could also help with solar power fluctuations, a process known as “generation-firming.”

The two-year Chrysler-NextEnergy partnership launched in 2011 and has been gathering data from four Chrysler Town & Country minivans equipped with all-electric powertrains. Each is powered by a 24kwH battery modified to accommodate bidirectional charging. Engineers are investigating how EVs with reverse power-flow might affect grids known as Independent System Operators (ISO).

An ISO buys, sells, and transmits electricity. Project engineers are collecting real-time pricing data from ISOs and weighing them against projected battery performance to help define revenue expectations.

Preliminary results show particular promise for ISOs that utilize solar and wind energy. Final results will be compiled later this year

The project was funded with $1 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and $400,000 from NextEnergy. Chrysler Group is supplying the minivans and in-kind engineering support. The company’s first production electric minivans were the 1993 TEVans, with between 56 and 80 made; some appear to still be on the road today. A second run of electric minivans were made in 1997, but these were leased rather than sold.

AMP version.

All cars at AllparTrucksUpcomingRepairsReviewsEngines

[No ad here today]

Ram leading in van growth

With a nearly 47% year-over-year increase as of the end of September, Ram leads the market in commercial van sales.

Nine months into 2016, Ram has sold 39,214 ProMasters — 26,544 full-size ProMasters and 12,649 compact ProMaster Citys.

In September, monthly sales of Chevrolet and Ford vans fell, while Ram van deliveries were up more than 10%. The big ProMaster outsold every full-size van that didn’t wear a blue oval or a bow tie.

Read the full story: Ram leading in van growth  »

What’s behind the 2017 diesel delays?

2017 Ram and Jeep diesels are reportedly being delayed — but the same is true of diesel engines from nearly all automakers, as the EPA rushes to crack down on diesel emissions cheats.

So far, according to Automotive News’ groundbreaking report, only Jaguar and BMW have been given permission to sell diesels in the US. Others have to wait, pending testing clearance, thanks to Audi-Volkswagen cheats.

Read the full story: What’s behind the 2017 diesel delays?  »

Canadians get cheaper Pacificas

2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivans

Chrysler Canada is now selling a complete line of Pacifica minivans in Canada, with the base LX and Touring models added to Touring-L, Touring-L Plus, and Limited.

All 2017 Chrysler Pacificas are made in Canada at the award-winning Windsor Assembly Plant; the plant built 70% of all full-size minivans sold in Canada last year (including Caravan and Town & Country).

The LX lists for C$37,995,

Read the full story: Canadians get cheaper Pacificas  »

Ram Commercial’s relaunch

ram commercial video

Ram’s “Ram Commercial” division made its full public debut yesterday with a multidimensional ad campaign, four years after being established.

The campaign covers television, print, digital, video and social media. The first ad, “Time,” showed up on yesterday’s NFL game, showing the “surprise and delight” of small businesses with Ram vans. Print ads will appear in magazines including Forbes, Professional Builder, and Remodeling.

Read the full story: Ram Commercial’s relaunch  »

What do you think of the “Chief” blue? (updated)

Jeep is set to launch a new color, “Chief,” according to James Mooney — who backed up his assertion with an image from the Jeep brochure available on-line.

The color hasn’t hit the Build & Price system yet. It seems to hearken back to the popular bright blues of the 1970s and 1990s; we have also  seen a 1920s Chrysler in a slightly more aquamarine, but still factory,

Read the full story: What do you think of the “Chief” blue? (updated)  »

Ram leading in van growth

What’s behind the 2017 diesel delays?
2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivans
Canadians get cheaper Pacificas
ram commercial video
Ram Commercial’s relaunch

All Mopar Car and Truck News

At Allpar

Chrysler 300 Letter Cars

The Engine Cleanup Committee

Chrysler 300M

At Allpar

The next Jeep Compass is official

What is this “Renegade Wrangler”?

Is this the 2019 Ram? Perhaps!

Allpar by car:

Staff details/contactsTerms of ServiceInformation is presented to the best of our knowledge. Plans change and sometimes mistakes are made. Decisions or purchases made based on this site's verbiage or images are done at the reader's own risk. Also see the Allpar News archives, 1997-2008 • Copyright © 2008-2016, Allpar LLC. All rights reserved. • Mopar, Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, HEMI, and certain other names are trademarks of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.