Industry Insight: Electric Vehicles and Bidirectional charging

There are two types of charging when it comes to batteries in electric vehicles (EVs). Firstly, there is unidirectional charging, where energy flows one way from the grid to the car. This is what we would think of as traditional charging, for example, when we charge our gadgets at home.

What is Bidirectional Charging?

Bidirectional EV charging is essentially ‘charging’ that occurs in two ways. Energy will flow from the grid to the car, or it can be sent from the car back to the grid or used to power other devices.

Like a portable power bank used to charge your personal electronic devices, your car can be used in the same way. In the case of EVs, the ‘devices’ are much larger – they could be a barbeque, your house or the electricity grid.

Types of Bidirectional Charging

Bidirectional charging is the ‘umbrella’ term that covers several different use cases, with the most common being – V2G, V2H and V2L.

Vehicle to Load, VtoL or V2L

V2L is the most basic application of bidirectional charging. It does not require a bidirectional charger. Instead, a V2L adapter is plugged into your type 2 charging port which allows the car to operate as a portable battery pack with a standard 120/240V power supply.

Vehicle to Home, VtoH or V2H

V2H involves using energy from your EV to power your home or business. This works in the same way a stationary home storage battery (like the Tesla Powerwall 2) does in reducing grid consumption, except your car needs to be plugged into a bidirectional charge point.

Vehicle to Grid, VtoG or V2G

V2G involves using energy from your EV to stabilise the grid. This is done through a ‘smart’ bidirectional charger, which is typically part of a VPP (Virtual Power Plant). Subject to defined parameters, your energy retailer will control when your battery is charged or discharged.

Electric Vehicle brands with Bidirectional Charging
  1. BYD
  2. Ford
  3. Genesis
  4. Hyundai Ioniq
  5. Kia
  6. Mitsubishi
  7. Nissan
  8. Volkswagen ID

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