Bidirectional charging is the future of electric vehicles and offers the ability to supply electricity from the EV battery to a power grid or another EV, paving the way for you to earn extra income from a bidirectional charger, make new friends, and become energy self-sustainable.
In this guide to bidirectional charging, you’ll learn:
- What is bidirectional charging?
- How does peer-to-peer charging work?
- What are the benefits of bidirectional charging?
Let’s dive in.
What is Bidirectional Charging and How Does it Work?
Bidirectional charging, also known as peer-to-peer (P2P) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) charging, refers to supplying electricity from your electric vehicle to another EV or grid. It’s known as bidirectional charging because it allows EVs to charge in two ways:
- From the grid to the EV
When you start electric vehicle charging, the electrical grid supplies alternating current (AC) to the EV. This AC converts to direct current (DC) in the car and is then used by the vehicle. If you use a DC charger, this conversion takes place in the charger.
- In the opposite direction from the EV to the grid or another EV in V2V charging
In this style, an electric car converts the DC back to AC to send it back to the grid or another vehicle. Even though only a few EVs come with bidirectional chargers, the standard chargers can also facilitate DC-AC conversion and power control.
Isn’t Bidirectional Charging and Smart Charging the Same Thing?
New EV owners can sometimes confuse bidirectional charging with smart charging. However, they’re different concepts.
Smart charging refers to unidirectional (standard) or bidirectional EV charging, where you can control the rate and time of charging with a smart device, such as a mobile phone. In this instance, there’s no need to manually turn the charging on or off and it can be more economical, as you can access off-peak tariffs.
Smart charging is possible only if there is a cloud data connection between the EV, charging operation, and a charging device. Bidirectional charging also has the same requirements. Hence, only smart charging can be bidirectional.
In other words, smart charging may or may not be bidirectional charging, but bidirectional charging is always smart charging.
What Are the Benefits of Bidirectional Charging?
Should you opt for a car that supports peer-to-peer charging?
We think so – peer-to-peer charging brings a lot to the table for EV owners, such as:
1. Saving Money by Reducing Charging Costs
Owning an EV is generally less expensive than a petrol or diesel car, thanks to the lower cost of recharging versus the cost of combustion fuels.
V2G, or vehicle-to-grid charging helps you save even more money. With bidirectional EVs, you can charge your EV during off-peak hours for cheaper rates and use it to power your house during peak electricity hours when the tariff is high – saving you money.
2. Earn Money and Make Friends
You may not have realised, but you can even earn money with an EV that supports bidirectional charging by selling excess energy in your EV back to the power grid.
To benefit from this, you can fully charge your EV for cheap during off-peak hours and sell the excess energy back to the grid during peak hours. Though the earnings can vary, conservative estimates suggest you can gain up to €400 a year and €3,700 throughout the lifetime of an EV by selling electricity back to the grid.
Moreover, bidirectional charging capabilities can allow you to become more social. If you see an EV owner whose EV has run out of battery, you can offer them a few miles for free or you can even charge people for this and build an additional source of income.
3. Become Self-Sufficient
Bidirectional charging also helps you become energy self-sufficient. If you have domestic solar power and they’re full, you can store the extra power in your EV and use it to power your home at night. Or you can use the stored energy to increase your range when you drive your EV on your commute. This way, you can become energy self-sufficient and reduce your energy expenses.
With this in mind, some countries have introduced programs to help EV owners implement such self-sufficient systems. The UK has introduced the demand-side response (DSR) program which provides homeowners with smart meters and enables them to generate energy using renewables like solar panels and wind energy.
Do I Need a Specific EV Cable for Bidirectional Charging?
If you want to try bidirectional charging, you’ll need a bidirectional charger to leverage vehicle-to-grid (V2G) or vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) charging.
Most EV chargers come in two types: AC and DC chargers.
AC chargers don’t have a built-in converter to convert AC electricity to DC. Instead, the conversion process takes place in a convertor located inside the car.
DC chargers, on the other hand, have a built-in AC-DC converter that converts AC to DC and then sends it into the vehicle.
Bidirectional chargers are a specific type of EV chargers with AC to DC and DC to AC converter systems within them. As such, these chargers can extract DC current from the EV, convert it into DC, and send it to the electricity grid or other electric vehicles.
Which Cars Offer Peer-to-Peer Charging?
As bidirectional charging becomes more widely used, manufacturers have started to incorporate this in their newer models. Five cars that support V2G, V2H, or V2V charging, include:
· Hyundai Ioniq 5
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 has gained a lot of popularity for its sleek design, eco-friendly interiors, ultra-fast charging, and vehicle-to-grid charging.
When charged with a 350 kW charger, the Ioniq 5 can charge from 10% to 80% in less than 20 minutes. It has a V2L port under the second-row seats that allows you to supply power to a grid or another EV.
· Nissan Leaf (model years 2013 and onwards)
The new Nissan Leaf comes with a 40 kWh battery, an estimated range of 226 miles, and comes with both V2H and V2G technology.
V2H allows you to store home-generated renewable energy in the car battery and also allows you to fill your battery when tariffs are low or in times of power outage. The V2G system lets you supply the electricity stored in your EV’s battery to power grids, which can potentially help you earn money.
· Kia EV6
The EV6 has the same V2L functionality as the Ioniq 5 as they are from the Hyundai Motor Group and are built on the same platform.
The EV6 offers up to 3.6 kW of power and has an outlet located at the bottom of the rear seats, allowing you to charge your devices while driving around.
· Volkswagen ID Buzz
For those looking for an electric van with bidirectional charging capabilities, enter the VW ID Buzz.
With vehicle-to-home capability the Buzz’s 77kWh battery can be used to power your home via a wall-mounted bidirectional charger, allowing it to receive power from the electrical grid and discharge it to run your appliances.
· Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3 comes with an AWD dual-motor. It comes in two versions: short-range, with 422km, and long-range, which has 568km.
The Tesla Model 3 initially didn’t have the V2G charging capability, but the company has recently added it to the vehicle.
Contact EV Cable Shop for bidirectional charging help
Bidirectional charging can make vast in-roads in both saving or making money as well as helping the environment.
Some homes already champion this, by utilising renewable energy but can make further advancements by selling power back to the electricity grid with vehicle-to-grid charging, while others are starting from ground zero.
No matter where you are up to in your journey, we can help. As suppliers of EV charging cables of all kinds and EV enthusiasts, we can offer the unbiased, no-obligation advice you need.
Bidirectional charging FAQs
What is an example of bidirectional charging?
Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) is the most common example of two-way charging. Cars that support V2G can also supply electricity back to the power grid. If these cars have excess power, they can supply it back to the grid to help grid operators manage load during peak hours.
What cars can do V2G?
Most manufacturers with CHAdeMo vehicles are introducing V2G charging. All Nissan Leafs support V2G, along with the Nissan e-NV200. Tesla has recently added V2G capabilities to the Model 3. Honda e and Renault Zoe come with EV charging capabilities too. Mitsubishi has also announced Outlander PHEV with V2G capabilities.
Can you make money with an EV charging station and bidirectional charging?
Yes, you can. Many power grid operators, like Jedlix, IoTecha, V2G EVSE, and Fuergy, allow EV owners to supply energy back to the charging station in exchange for money. The rates depend on the charging tariffs. EV owners can charge their EVs when the tariffs are low and supply electricity to the grid when the tariffs are high to make a profit.
Can anyone install an EV charger?
Anyone is allowed to install an EV charger, but you can’t do it by yourself unless you are an electrician. It’s essential to hire a qualified electrician who knows what they’re doing. Even though hiring an electrician may be a bit expensive, it’s a safer option. Taking a DIY approach to install an EV charging network can be risky.
Does V2G reduce battery life?
Yes, V2G can impact battery life. An electric vehicle’s battery has a finite number of charging cycles. Charging and draining the battery too frequently can degrade the battery life and performance. Hence, it’s essential to not overuse the V2G function in your EV.