Even though the cost of running an electric vehicle is less expensive than a gasoline-powered car, there are still some new and unique ways to save money. The talk about bidirectional charging systems for electric vehicles (EVs) has been taking place for some time, and it may be time for you to start thinking about getting one.
How a Bidirectional EV Charger Works
Plugging into your home’s EV charger—or one anywhere—enables you to draw on the power from the source. The power sources in your home and other places run on electric alternating current (AC). A charger converts AC to direct current (DC) by the converter going to your car.
Before the power from a bidirectional EV charger can be used for homes or businesses, it must convert the current from your car back into AC. This re-conversion of the electrical current gives your EV more uses of your car’s battery power.
Special Uses of EVs with Bidirectional Charging
Electric vehicles with bidirectional charging offer several benefits that can help you save money—and add some conveniences to your life. A bidirectional EV charger will not only charge your EV but also can provide you with four more benefits.
1. Electrical Backup for Your Home
An EV is basically a large battery on wheels. When there is an electrical blackout in your area, your vehicle can become a vehicle-to-home (V2H) power source with a V2H bidirectional charger.
According to Energy.gov, the bidirectional battery charger enables you to use the car’s battery and charger to provide extra power to your home—reducing your need to draw power from the grid. If you have solar power systems that can charge your EV, and you combine it with the electrical power from your EV, you may not need to draw any power from the grid. It could potentially eliminate your monthly electric bill. Further, in an emergency, you can use it to supplement power from a diesel generator.
Some EVs have converters that will let you plug various items directly into a standard outlet. When they do, the power comes from the battery. It is called vehicle to load (V2L). Several vehicles have this capability now, says the solar energy company GreenLancer, including the Rivian R1T, Kia EV6, Ford F150 Lightning, Hyundai Ioniq, and the Tesla CyberTruck.
2. Electrical Support for a Building
The same thing can be done for a commercial or business building with cars with bidirectional charging. When the battery is charged, you can use it to provide additional power to your business building—V2B (vehicle to business). Multiple EVs could reduce your power demand and ensure that blackouts do not stop your business operations.
3. Make Money Providing Electrical Power to the Grid
Recently, current energy sources have been stretched to the limit in some places. It has resulted in brownouts and blackouts—especially on hot days, when power is in the heaviest demand.
Cars with a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) bidirectional charger can enable you to provide power to the power grid. Supplying power to the grid when your battery is charged (and when you are not using the vehicle) or if you have a business that uses multiple EVs, letting them provide power to the grid can reduce the high demands for power at peak times—and can enable you to make some money.
According to GreenLancer, this method—utilizing many EVs with bidirectional EV chargers—will become a major source of power in the future. One reason is that EVs can be charged with renewable energy sources—such as solar and wind turbines—and then supply power to the grid when these sources lack optimal production due to cloudy days or days without wind.
4. Transfer Power Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V)
Automakers are working on being able to transfer power from one vehicle to another. Of course, EVs using proprietary systems can only transfer power to another vehicle that is also V2V capable. Since the range of most EVs is limited, this feature could come in very handy if you run out of battery power while traveling. According to GreenLancer, only two vehicles currently have this capability: the Ford F150 Lightning and the Lucid Air.
Controlled by Smartphone
MotorTrend says that a smartphone can control bidirectional charging systems. You can exert control when your EV gives power to the grid or is charging, and you can schedule how long—all with your smartphone. It is accessed through facial recognition, Bluetooth, or gestures, ensuring the unit’s security.
An Environmental Benefit of Bidirectional EV Chargers
Another powerful benefit of bidirectional EV chargers is environmental. Instead of using more carbon fuels to generate power in peak seasons, multiple EVs providing power to the grid will reduce the volume of carbon fuels needed during peak demand.
As more EV vehicles are put on the road, it will reduce the use of gasoline-powered vehicles, and will also help reduce the nation’s demand for gasoline and put fewer carbon emissions into the air.
It is believed that increased use of the batteries in EVs with bidirectional charging systems can help reduce energy shortages, says Virta.Global. When an EV power sends power to the grid for a couple of hours, it can supplement occasions when other sustainable systems are not operating, such as solar power systems at night or windmills on still days.
Several manufacturers are already making cars with bidirectional charging systems. Some of these systems are proprietary and will only work with that particular model of car. Other charging systems will also only work with cars that have the right adapters for them. Eventually, you can expect that these charging systems will become more universal.
If you are thinking about buying an electric car—or if you already have one—you may want to think seriously about getting a bidirectional EV charger. They have to be the best EV chargers on the market—and it will help you save money, too.
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