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Exploring how the way we live influences climate change and its impact across the Carolinas. You also can read additional national and international climate news.

Duke Energy delays program to draw power from EV batteries

Duke Energy's North Carolina pilot program will test the idea of pulling energy from Ford F-150 Lightning truck batteries and sending it to the grid. Customers will get lower lease payments in exchange for participating.
Duke Energy
/
Ford Motor Co.
Duke Energy's North Carolina pilot program will test the idea of pulling energy from Ford F-150 Lightning truck batteries and sending it to the grid. Customers will get lower lease payments in exchange for participating.

Duke Energy is delaying by one year a pilot program to test the use of electric vehicle batteries to power the electric grid in North Carolina.

The test for a limited number of customers who lease Ford F-150 Lightning pickups was supposed to start Jan. 1. But now, it won't start until Jan. 1, 2025.

Regulators approved the delay after Duke said last month that it's facing challenges. Inflation and supply chain issues have slowed production, and led to fewer customers leasing the vehicles. Duke also cited delays in development of software needed to draw electricity from customers' vehicle batteries.

The company still plans to seek up to 100 customers for the trial program. Duke plans to use information gathered to design a broader program for all customers.

While the truck is plugged into a home charger, Duke would be able to reverse the flow to pull electricity onto the grid a couple of times a month reducing the need to generate more power. In exchange, customers’ lease payments would be reduced by about $25 a month. There's also a $25 gift card bonus if they supply additional power.

Duke Energy statement

Duke Energy asked regulators for the delay in a filing Nov. 22, and regulators approved the request on Monday. Duke said in a statement emailed to WFAE:

"Recent research and observations have demonstrated that changes to current economic conditions and customer behavior – and increased availability of V2G-capable electric vehicles (EVs) – would be necessary to successfully implement a V2G pilot in Duke Energy Carolinas. We believe that the decision to suspend the launch and implementation of the pilot based on these factors is in the best interests of our customers and communities.

"Duke Energy submitted the proposed pilot in mid-2022 based on the best available information at that time, including assumptions about the availability of parts and components to build V2G-capable EVs, the number of eligible program participants, and projections for the development of the bi-directional V2G software.

"Since that time, we have collaborated closely with potential original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners and monitored developments in the electrification industry. We have observed changes in actual and projected numbers of eligible EV deliveries, customer installations of home integration kits and numbers of customers choosing to lease eligible vehicles versus purchasing them. Additionally, the U.S. is currently experiencing a period of high inflation and multiple industries are attempting to navigate supply chain constraints for various parts and components required to manufacture their products. These issues have directly impacted the automotive industry.

"Duke Energy continues to track and monitor the development of electrification so we can adjust our plans as needed. We are closely following the timeline of the commercial availability of the software necessary for V2G capabilities that would be required for the implementation of the Duke Energy V2G pilot – and will continue to monitor developments in the electric transportation industry alongside stakeholders and OEMs."

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Updated: December 12, 2023 at 10:43 AM EST
This story has been updated to include a statement from Duke Energy about reasons for the delay.
David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.