Electric vehicles in Canberra will become "mobile batteries" as part of a $6.6 million trial to see if the cars can help stabilise the electricity network during times of peak demand.
In an experiment set to give a new meaning to the term dispatchable power, the ACT government's electric vehicle fleet will help test new vehicle-to-grid technology.
The vehicles will operate like mobile batteries, using and storing electricity but then injecting power to the grid when needed.
It will involve around 50 cars, which will still be used as normal during business hours. Outside those hours, the cars will be plugged into the network and able to feed electricity back in if and when required.
The trial is being supported through a $2.4 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and involves a consortium of academic, government, transport and electricity system partners.
The money will be used to install 51 bidirectional charging stations across the ACT and upgrade government buildings with charging infrastructure.
The grant will also support three full-time positions at the Australian National University.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the trial would explore the role electric vehicles could play in helping to stabilise the electricity network.
"This trial will be important to prove the benefits of vehicle-to-grid technology, to see if [electric vehicles] can provide an energy security role and extra energy to the grid at times of peak demand," Mr Taylor said.
"The government's role is to support consumer choice for future fuel technologies and back new technologies through trials like this. These projects will help those Australian motorists who choose to drive an electric vehicle to do so."
ACT Liberal senator Zed Seselja said the ACT's small size made it the perfect jurisdiction to trial the technology.
Electric and low emissions vehicles are a key focus for the federal government's technology investment road map, which is trying to get Australia to zero net emissions by 2050. A national strategy for electric vehicles is due to be unveiled shortly.
The Coalition ridiculed Labor for pledging half of all new cars sold in Australia in 2030 would be electric. Mr Taylor said at the time it would "force Australians out of the cars they love into smaller, more expensive cars".