Engineers Australia recently hosted a presentation by Richard Hunwick ( on plug-in-hybrid vehicles. We can give you a glimpse of Richard’s proposition here and would encourage you to visit his web site and visit the link on plug-in-hybrid cars for more detail. Richard sees the PHEV as the way Australia can reduce its dependence on imported oil, clean up the environment, improve vehicle economy (how does 2.35L/100km sound?) and surprisingly improve the electricity grid. This last feature is intriguing. PHEV can not only take power from the grid but (with your agreement) it can give power back. By allocating a % of the stored power in the car for grid use, every time the car is plugged in it can serve as an energy storage device for the grid. One car won’t make the difference but thousands could. Richard envisages plug in points would be located everywhere. At parking meters and parking stations and of course at home. The car would earn credits or free parking for its contribution. The distributed storage concept gives the network significant supply security features and moderates and helps manage the increasing % of electricity supply coming from renewables having variable supply characteristics. Example PHEV from BYD—with the backing of the oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett.

Winter-Spring 2009

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