What is Bidirectional Charging or V2G Technology?

July 20, 2021

What is Bidirectional Charging or “V2G" Technology?

The Nis­san LEAF is able to sup­port the grid by stor­ing ener­gy for lat­er use and absorb­ing demand fluctuation.

What is “V2G" and how does it work? What is bidi­rec­tion­al charg­ing? What cars enable bidi­rec­tion­al charging?

"V2G" stands for “vehi­cle-to-grid", a charg­ing tech­nol­o­gy that allows ener­gy in an elec­tric car bat­tery to be pushed back into the elec­tri­cal grid. It can also be referred to as bidi­rec­tion­al charg­ing because of the two-way flow of elec­tri­cal ener­gy. The idea is sim­i­lar to smart charg­ing where charg­ing pow­er is increased or decreased as nec­es­sary, but V2G goes one step fur­ther and allows the charged pow­er to be pushed back to the pow­er grid to bal­ance ener­gy con­sump­tion and pro­duc­tion vari­a­tions when necessary.

When plugged into a V2G charg­er, EV dri­vers can choose to either charge up their cars from the grid or sell back stored ener­gy from their car to the grid. V2G charg­ing allows EV bat­ter­ies to be used much more effi­cient­ly than tra­di­tion­al uni­di­rec­tion­al charg­ing and is impor­tant for fight­ing cli­mate change and mov­ing away from fos­sil fuels. Renew­able ener­gy like wind and solar can’t be pro­duced on demand and needs to be either used imme­di­ate­ly when it becomes avail­able or stored some­where for lat­er use. EV bat­ter­ies pro­vide a per­fect place to store this ener­gy, and once stored, it can be pushed back into the grid dur­ing peak demand times and to help avoid black­outs or pow­er surges with­out the use of fos­sil fuels.

The most impor­tant aspect of V2G charg­ing is mak­ing sure that the bat­tery is charged enough when the car needs to be dri­ven, some­thing eas­i­ly solved using phone apps that allow you to choose what charge you need at any giv­en time. That way, when the car is help­ing bal­ance the grid, it only uses some of the ener­gy from the vehi­cle and keeps the charge with­in a set tol­er­ance. Since cars are plugged in 90% of the time, it makes sense to use the bat­ter­ies to bal­ance the grid when they’re not in use.

The only vehi­cles out right now that have V2G capa­bil­i­ties are the Nis­san Leaf and the Nis­san e‑NV200, but oth­er man­u­fac­tur­ers aren’t far behind. Ford has made vehi­cle-to-home (V2H) capa­bil­i­ties for the F‑150 Light­ning elec­tric pick­up and may add V2G charg­ing in the future. Volk­swa­gen has announced that all their ID. brand­ed vehi­cles will have V2G capa­bil­i­ties start­ing in 2022 and EV Con­nect, lead­ing provider of EV charg­ing solu­tions, is already run­ning tri­als on V2G tech­nol­o­gy in the U.S.

The Ford F‑150 Light­ning has V2H "vehi­cle to home" capa­bil­i­ties allow­ing it to be used as a pow­er source in the case of black­outs or dis­as­ters, and is expect­ed to have V2G tech in the future.

Sources:

https://www.virta.global/vehicle-to-grid-v2g

https://www.ovoenergy.com/guides/electric-cars/vehicle-to-grid-technology.html

https://cleantechnica.com/2021/05/30/ford-sunrun-team-up-to-make-v2h-technology-a-reality-is-v2g-next/

https://thedriven.io/2021/04/07/volkswagen-wants-to-stabilise-grid-by-adding-v2g-in-all-its-electric-cars/

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