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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Automakers and utility companies are collaborating to develop bi-directional battery capability in electric vehicles, which enables EVs to receive and return power to the grid.

The big picture: Many AVs will likely be electric, and if they can operate as off-grid batteries, they could let owners make better use of the energy they buy from utilities and even be used as backup energy sources in blackouts.

Where it stands:

Yes, but: Research has shown that bi-directional batteries will see high wear and tear if they are constantly charging and sharing electricity. JB Straubel, the CTO of Tesla, has criticized the technology for this "degradation cost." Meanwhile, the current price of standard EV batteries keeps the vehicles outside an affordable range for most consumers.

What to watch: If a business model develops around bi-directional charging, the cost of battery wear and tear could be factored into companies' bottom lines. But if consumers are expected to bear the expense, they may need to be incentivized to participate in V2G systems through tax credits or lower utility rates, in addition to earning back money when their vehicles give power to the grid.

Sudha Jamthe is CEO of IoTDisruptions and teaches AV Business at Stanford Continuing Studies.

Go deeper

Airlines call for Biden admin's "immediate intervention" in 5G deployment

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The CEOs of leading U.S. air cargo and passenger carriers on Monday warned the Biden administration there could be "catastrophic disruption" after AT&T and Verizon deploy a new 5G service this week.

Driving the news: They said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other top federal officials ahead of the C-Band 5G service's deployment Wednesday that "the nation's commerce will grind to a halt" and "could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas."

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

5 hours ago - Health

CDC director says COVID-19 messaging should have been clearer

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the messaging around the COVID-19 pandemic and changing guidance should have been clearer.

State of play: Walensky is being coached by media experts and is planning to have more press briefings by herself in order to ensure that CDC is seen as an independent, scientific entity, rather than as a political one, the Journal reports.