Bidirectional Charging Explained: V2L, V2H, V2G

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Owning an electric car not only leads to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, but it can also turn your electric vehicle into a money-making asset through bidirectional charging technology.

With many car and EV charging manufacturers already providing or planning to offer this type of charging service, EV bidirectional charging has become a highly discussed topic.

However, you might be wondering how bidirectional EV charging works and whether it’s worth investing in for your business. Let’s delve into these questions further.

What is bidirectional charging and how does bidirectional charging work?

Nowadays, most electric vehicles use one way charging, which involves acquiring alternating current (AC) from the grid and converting it into direct current (DC) to charge the vehicle battery. This can be achieved through converters inside bidirectional charging cars or bidirectional EV chargers.

one way charging

However, bidirectional charging turns into a two way charging: electricity can flow from the grid to charge vehicles, as well as from electric vehicles back to the grid or to homes, office buildings, or appliances. Bidirectional charging is most effective when supplemented by solar power because it can generate more energy during peak sunlight hours.

bidirectional charging 2

V2L, V2H, V2G: what's the difference?

V2G, V2H, and V2L are indeed the three main types of bidirectional charging, each serving different purposes and applications within the realm of electric vehicles and energy management.

Vehicle-to-Load (V2L)

V2L refers to the capability of an electric vehicle to discharge its battery’s stored energy to power external devices or loads. In essence, the vehicle’s battery acts as a portable power source that can be used to supply electricity to various devices, appliances, or tools.


Vehicle-to-Home (V2H)

V2H involves using an EV with bidirectional charging to supply power to a home or building during power outages or emergencies. The vehicle’s battery serves as a backup power source for the home, providing electricity for essential appliances and systems until grid power is restored.

V2H technology allows electric vehicle owners to integrate their vehicles into their home energy management system, enhancing energy resilience and self-sufficiency.


Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G)

V2G enables electric vehicles to not only draw energy from the grid for charging but also to feed surplus energy back into the grid when needed. This allows electric vehicles to serve as distributed energy resources, helping to stabilize the grid, balance supply and demand, and support renewable energy integration.

V2G technology has the potential to provide grid services such as frequency regulation, peak shaving, and demand response, while also offering financial incentives for vehicle owners who participate in grid services programs.

Bidirectional Charging 1

What are the benefits of bidirectional charging?

Bidirectional charging brings various benefits to electric vehicle owners in potential savings and energy efficiency.

Cost Savings in Energy Usage

Owners of bidirectional EV cars can lower energy costs in two ways. Firstly, you can charge your vehicle during off-peak hours (overnight) at the lowest rates and then use that energy to power your home during peak periods (daytime).

Secondly, by utilizing V2G technology, owners can sell stored energy from their vehicle batteries to the grid or other users, earning income when the grid requires additional energy. A study by the University of Rochester found that V2G chargers can save electric vehicle owners $120 to $150 annually.

Backup Power Storage

Bidirectional charging cars with V2H functionality can serve as backup power sources during power outages or emergencies, providing power support to homes or offices. A typical electric vehicle battery can hold about 60 kilowatt-hours of energy, enough to power a household for approximately two days. This feature enhances convenience in daily life and strengthens preparedness during emergencies.

Portable Power Source

In certain situations, bidirectional charging technology can function as a portable power source. V2L functionality allows electric vehicles to power specific loads by plugging them into outlets. For instance, if you’re camping or working remotely with your electric vehicle, you can use it to power appliances. In emergencies, you can even use it to provide energy to other vehicles in need.

What EVs have bidirectional charging?

Bidirectional charging requires both chargers and vehicles equipped for two-way energy transfer. Even if you have a bidirectional car charger, you’ll still need a compatible vehicle to utilize this feature.

The availability of electric cars with bidirectional charging remains limited at present, which includes:

  • Ford F-150 Lightning (V2G)
  • Genesis GV60 (V2L)
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 (V2L)
  • Hyundai Ioniq 6 (V2L)
  • Kia EV6 (V2L)
  • Kia Niro (V2L)
  • Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (V2L)
  • Nissan Leaf (V2H, V2G)
  • VW ID.4 (V2H)

However, it’s exciting to note that many auto companies, including Tesla, are working towards implementing bidirectional charging technology across their entire vehicle lineup.

The future of bidirectional charging

We can expect that as technology keeps getting better, bidirectional charging will become more and more useful and important. Soon, you’ll find bidirectional EV chargers everywhere, like in homes, offices, and public places.

The future of bidirectional charging holds immense promise for reshaping the energy and transportation sectors. Through synergies between electric vehicles and the grid, we can create a more efficient and sustainable energy ecosystem, pushing us closer to a carbon-neutral future.

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