After one of the most difficult years in our lifetimes, this year will prove to be an important inflection point for the path forward, especially in terms of climate change, as the transition to all-electric travel will likely swarm headlines in 2021. 

General Motors kicked the trend off this January with the reveal of their new logo and a 180-degree pivot of their vision to an “ALL electric future for ALL”. We will likely see other manufacturing mammoths pivot in fear of being left in the dust as new electric vehicle (EV) startups emerge with surprising popularity such as Lordstown Motors – an EV company that has 100,000 pre-orders of their electric truck. Before anyone has laid eyes on their Endurance truck roaming the roads, it is not too far behind Tesla, who delivered approximately 498,920 vehicles in all of 2020.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting some of the brilliant minds behind Lordstown Motors when Austin Energy hosted an unveiling of the Lordstown Endurance™ all-electric pickup truck. The most immediately striking feature of the Endurance truck are the wheels that encase a glistening golden brass engine. That’s right, the engine is in the wheels! Not only is Lordstown making history as the first electric pickup truck to hit the market, beating Rivian’s truck and Tesla’s CyberTruck, they also make history as the first vehicle with its engine entirely in the wheels.  

The responsible electric vehicle vs powerful pickup truck dilemma facing many environmentally-minded Texans is shattered. “Effective innovation is,” according to James Rajiah, the Director of Sales at Lordstown Motors, “when you have advanced technology accessible to the working class – and that’s what we’re all about.” The performance, the $45,000 price tag after federal rebates, and the strong identification, bordering on love affair of Texans with their trucks, presents Lordstown’s Endurance truck as an attractive choice for many Texans.

The endurance truck has an excellent sales proposition for companies and cities that own fleets of trucks. The average order size of the Lordstown Endurance™ all-electric pickup truck is 600 vehicles per fleet. 

The one thing that Lordstown Motors lacks, alongside every other EV manufacturer, is Vehicle To Grid (V2G) technology. With this technology, an EV’s battery becomes a source of energy storage for the entire grid, not just the vehicle itself. 

Imagine a vehicle that is a source of revenue rather than just a capital expenditure. This is possible with the V2G technology.  

With V2G technology, utilities would have the opportunity to actually pay EV owners to store electricity,thus creating a source of revenue for fleet owners and “saving” otherwise lost electricity for use during peak-demand times. Although there is no silver bullet to solving the issues facing the grid, leveraging the batteries in EVs has enormous potential to revolutionize the electricity market by stabilizing prices. 

V2G enabled electric vehicle fleets have serious potential to flip the laws of the electricity market on their head by stabilizing prices. On particularly wind days, the local electricity balancing authority must pay some wind farms to shut down their turbines. One windy Texas day in 2015, the price per megawatt-hour of electricity dropped to negative 64 cents. The utilities were actually paying their customers to use power. 

Electric cars help solve the problem of who will pay for stabilizing our grid. People who own EVs with V2G will, and they could be compensated accordingly. With lofty renewable energy goals increasing nationwide, and the reality that wind and sun are not constant, nor predictable sources of energy, utilities will increasingly look to storage to balance the grid.

Of course, there is one major obstacle. If the vehicle-to-grid system is going to work, all-electric cars would have to be plugged in whenever parked. This makes for a massive investment in infrastructure rebuilding. Gretchen Bakke in her book “The Grid” presents the solution: that the “easiest way to begin operationalizing “V2G” technologies is to do it with fleets.” 

Companies who are flipping their fleets to EVs should demand V2G technology. And EV manufacturers like Lordstown Motors can easily enable V2G technology, further enhancing their attractive sales proposition. 

It is becoming more and more difficult to deny that, as Austin Energy is fond of saying, “Electric > Gas”. The excuses are thinning. Our all-electric future is here. 

Checkout LordsTown’s Endurance truck here.