What is Bidirectional Charging?


Bidirectional charging refers to the ability of electric vehicles to both draw power from the grid for charging as well as send power back to the grid or other external loads.

Bidirectional charging is split into three major categories: 1. Vehicle-to-grid (V2G); 2. Vehicle-to-home (V2H); and 3. Vehicle-to-load (V2L).

V2G allows EVs to send energy back into the grid. This can be particularly useful during peak energy use times or periods of high grid strain (i.e. summer). EV owners can be compensated through money or credits for selling electricity to providers. 

V2H allows EVs to serve as a backup power source, providing power to home appliances and other systems in the case of power outage or desire to use non-grid energy. For example, you could charge your vehicle overnight when rates are low, then use the vehicle as a power source for a load needed during peak rates the following day (instead of purchasing from the grid). 

V2L allows EVs to power external loads, essentially turning the vehicle into a portable power source. Applications include the use of tools, outdoor activities, emergency situations, or access to electricity in locations without access to the grid. 

Several EV models today offer various forms of bidirectional charging. One of the first to do so was the Nissan Leaf, which supports both V2G and V2H. As a more recent example, the Ford F-150 Lightning is well-known for its V2H charging, enabling it to power a home for several days. Ford claims the Intelligent Backup Power system is designed to provide seamless backup power, much like an integrated generator would. 

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