Avoiding Green Vehicle Blackouts of the Future

tumblr_inline_mh1tbf1jRb1rbgyzzIt’s probably not the best idea to run your toaster, microwave, dishwasher, five halogens and hair-dryer at the same time. Unless you enjoy hanging out with your electrician. Soon, though, we may have something else to stick into the wall—the family car. The Prius, Volt and Leaf all point to an electric-vehicle future. And that brings up a nutty little paradox. With millions of plug-in cars on the road gulping down electrons, won’t we actually need more electricity? And won’t it cost more to run them?

IBM’s been thinking about this for a while, and came up with US Patent No. 8,266,075. It’s a quite clever transaction system that combines energy prices, your car’s current battery level, and your own transport needs. Then it delivers up a schedule of charging times and prices. It’ll mean your little EV can grab some lightning bolts wherever there’s an outlet, without breaking the bank—or the world’s energy grid. Maybe, just maybe, it’s the foundation for the fuel network of the future. Now isn’t that an electrifying thought?

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