Electric Vehicles Powered by Maui Wind & Sun: The Missing Links Revealed
Tesla just announced their plug and play renewable energy game changer “The Powerwall.” Meanwhile here on Maui, we were already ahead of the game thanks to the JUMPSmartMaui research project.
JUMPSmartMaui is funded by Japan’s NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) and aims to perfect the recipe between renewable energy generation, smart grid connectivity, storage, and electric mobility. Basically they have developed technology that lets your CAR power your house when the grid demand is high, and allows your car to then replenish its charge during off peak hours where there is a better chance of leveraging unused wind power.
Pictured below is Auwahi Wind Farm in Kahikinui
Wind Powered Electric Cars
The challenge with harnessing wind for a public utility is basically trying to connect an uneven random energy source with a very constant demand. Storage is a brilliant way to manage this fluctuating energy source.
Typically windmills will be curtailed during the night if there is insufficient demand. Curtailing is basically shutting down wind turbines when the grid demand falls off. If you charge your electric car during the night, the likelihood of using wind power is greater since any increased demand during the night can be satisfied by “un-curtailing” wind turbines.
Grid Switching Technology
Pictured above is Jumpsmart’s switching technology prototype machine. Working with real time smart grid information, this box will determine when grid demand is high – switch your house over to the Nissan Leaf Battery, then switch back to grid power – thus charging your Leaf with wind power (if available) and getting you all set for the next day out on the road. If you live on Maui and have a Nissan Leaf, feel free to contact JUMPSmart to see if you can participate in this exciting new research project.
Tesla’s Powerwall is going to play an important role in further smoothing out demand. We now basically have access to all the techno ingredients to become completely powered by renewable energy. Sunshine on rooftops can charge Tesla’s Home Battery during the day when electric demand is typically low. During peak hours, your house can be powered by a combination of your electric car battery and/or the Tesla Powerwall. During the night, large scale wind farms can deliver power to charge both your Powerwall and your electric car.
Pictured above is the gorgeous interior of BMW’s new I3 Electric city car overlooking Kaho’olawe on Maui’s raw and rugged south coast. This car was designed from the ground up using Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic, recycled materials, and open grain Eucalyptus wood on the dashboard. Looks like a 1960s house from a Martin Scorcese movie IMHO. This is my mobile office and where you will sit when you decide to go looking at Maui Real Estate with me. 🙂
Liam S. Ball, Realtor Broker