Electric cars, despite a slower progressive implementation than many would like, have come to change the automotive world. It is easy to point to aspects such as emissions, autonomy or performance as key aspects; but there are also interesting factors to which perhaps not enough attention is paid, such as bidirectional charging.
It is a system that more and more zero-emission models have and which is very practical in a multitude of situations, to which is added the fact that it can help the driver’s pocket: well used, it can mean up to 1,000 euros savings per year.
What is bidirectional charging?
To explain it simply, bidirectional charging is a system that allows the electric car (or even plug-in hybrids) to be converted into a lucky power bank or external battery.
As a general rule, zero-emission vehicles connect to the grid to recharge their battery, that is, they require electricity. However, with this technology they not only ask for it, but also They can supply it at times when it is neededconverting it back from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) for home use.
The use of this energy can be of all kinds, from powering the lighting of the house, being used to operate household appliances, etc.
It receives different names depending on its purpose:
- He Vehicle to loading (V2L) refers to when the energy accumulated in the vehicle is used to recharge the battery of another
- He Vehicle to Home (V2H) It is used when the energy is returned to the home, where it is used to power appliances, lights, etc.
- He Vehicle to Grid (V2G) is when the car returns energy to the electrical grid directly
In any of the three cases it is a system that allows you to save money, although in different ways.
In the first two, the ideal would be to charge the electric car using solar panels, for example, to accumulate energy, or recharge it directly from the grid during off-peak hours, when energy is cheaper. Then, during peak hours, when it costs more, the car would be connected to use that electricity and not pay more.
V2G means going one step further in this methodology, since it implies that this energy would be poured directly into the electrical grid, selling it to the electric companies, who would pay money for it to the user. However, currently the price at which the kWh is purchased is much lower than the user pays for it.
Considerations for bidirectional charging
The first thing to keep in mind is that In Spain there is no regulation that allows users to return energy to the grid, so there is no money to be made from it yet, but it seems that the industry is moving towards it.
The second thing is that it is not only necessary for the vehicle to be compatible with the technology (below we review which cars currently have it), but also it is necessary to install a smart charger that allows you to use it.
Axel Springer Motor Awards 2023: choose the best cars of the year
At the moment the supply of these devices in Spain is very limited, the best known being the QuasarOf the brand Wallbox (which has become so popular that it has made these home chargers generically known by its name).
Finally, there is the question of How the use of bidirectional charging affects car batteries. It is known that the charging and recharging process of any electrical device causes its battery to degrade and have increasingly less capacity.
In the automotive world, therefore, manufacturers offer guarantees on their batteries, stating that for a certain number of years they will continue to retain as much of the original as possible.
Thus, it is possible to think that being in a constant process of continuous charging and discharging, by acting as both a demander and a supplier, the degradation will increase and the useful life of the battery may be significantly shortened.
What cars have two-way charging?
The offer of electric cars with bi-directional charging is not particularly wide, but little by little more different models from different brands are being added and everything to the point that it could end up being the standard.
It was the Asian firms that began to explore this territory, so they are the ones that have the advantage in this field.
Nissan was one of the first to move in this direction and already in 2017, with the previous generation of the Nissan Leaf, it carried out tests in this regard and currently the model that is marketed also has it available.
Later that year Honda also tested the technology at its European R&D center in Offenbach, Germany; and in 2022 it carried out a test with six units of the Honda e, but the series model does not have this system.
Along the same lines, there have been proposals from Renault and Mitsubishi with their plug-in hybrids, as well as with electric ones from Audi, but it has not reached the street models.
Volkswagen, after some time investigating bidirectional charging, already offers it in the Volkswagen ID. Buzz.
Finally, the Hyundai Group has a good position in this race and currently three of its production models already have it: Kia EV6, Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6.