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Published on 30 Oct 2007
Chevy Volt Scholium.
How the serial plug-in hybrid EV works: it consists of a pack, chosen for the daily commute, a 40-mile pack, 60-miles pack, or 100-mile pack, that runs down to empty during the daily commute, just like a real EV.
Normally, the gas genset doesn't come on during the daily commute; only if you need to go farther, for occasional long trips, or if you forgot to charge the battery last night.
Just like an EV, which it is, the battery runs down, and it gets charged overnight. Overnight slow-charging HELPS the grid balance loads, and it makes NO SENSE to charge the battery during the daytime in ordinary driving.
So the plug-in serial hybrid EV runs EXACTLY LIKE AN EV for the first 40, 60, or 100 miles, just like a RAV4-EV.
If the genset comes on, it doesn't charge the battery! It makes no sense to use it to charge the battery, because you want the battery low in case you need to do regen braking, for example, on a long downhill run.
The genset comes on, and we use it to run the car directly. It's true, the power can be run into the battery, just for leveling-out, but it is NOT SUPPOSED TO CHARGE THE BATTERY!
Of course, it could do so, just as I could charge the EV directly from my solar rooftop system in the daytime. But it's not advisable.
Both the grid, and the cars, need energy at the SAME TIME, during the daytime peak. So that's why we charge slowly overnight (to help the grid balance loads, and avoid turning down generators to warm-start), and also why "vehicle to grid" makes little sense.
Both the grid, and the auto fleet, need the power at the same time, and both don't need power off-peak. So charging the car off-peak makes sense, using it to power the grid instead of driving makes it into little more than a lump of coal battery pack from a diamond EV.