Bidirectional EV charging is exactly what it sounds like: EV charging that goes two ways. Whilst with unidirectional (one-way) EV chargers, electricity flows from the electric grid into the electric vehicle, with bidirectional (two-way) EV chargers, electricity can flow both ways.
When an EV is charged, AC electricity from the grid is converted to DC electricity, the kind that can be used by a car. This conversion is carried out by either the car’s own converter or a converter located in the charger. Then, when you want to use that energy stored in the EV’s battery for a house, to back to the grid or mining crypto, the DC electricity used in the car has to be converted back to AC electricity. Although currently there aren’t many bidirectional EV chargers out there, all contain internal converters. This means that they can handle the electrical conversion back from DC to AC. They can even control the amount of power supplied to and from the battery.
Bidirectional Charging Uses
Bidirectional charging allows energy to flow both ways – in and out of your car. But where exactly does the energy go when it’s flowing out of a vehicle.
V2G: Vehicle to Grid
V2G is when a bidirectional EV charger is used to supply power from an EV’s battery to the grid via a DC to AC converter system usually embedded in the EV charger. V2G can be used to help balance and settle local, regional, or national energy needs. It allows EVs to charge during off-peak hours and give back to the grid during peak hours when there is extra energy demand. Most autos sit in parking spaces 95% of the time, thus with careful planning and the right infrastructure, parked and plugged-in EVs could become mass power banks, stabilizing the electric grids of the future. In this way, we can think of EVs as big batteries on wheels, helping to make sure that there is always enough energy for everyone at any given time.
V2H: Vehicle to Home
V2H is when a bidirectional EV charger is used to supply power (electricity) from an EV Car’s battery to a house or, possibly, another kind of building. This is done via a DC to AC converter system usually embedded within the EV charger. Like V2G, V2H can also help to make balance and settle, at a larger scale, local or even national supply grids. For instance, by charging up an EV at night when there is less electrical demand and then using that electricity to power homes during the daytime, this could actually contribute to reducing consumption during peak periods when there are more electrical demand and more pressure on the grid. V2H can, therefore, help make sure homes have enough power when they most need it. As a result, it can also reduce the pressure on the electricity grid as a whole.
V2C: Vehicle to Crypto
Both V2G and V2H may become more important as we move towards totally renewable energy systems. This is because different renewable energy sources tend to produce variable amounts of energy depending on the time of day or season. For instance, solar panels clearly capture the most energy during the day, wind turbines when it is windy, and so on. With bidirectional charging, the full potential of EV battery storage can be realized to benefit the entire energy system – and the planet! In other words, EVs can be used for renewable load following: capturing and storing excess solar or wind power when it is generated so that it can be made available for use during times of high demand, or when energy production is unusually low.
Benefits of bi-directional chargers
- Improve ROI by selling energy back to the grid.
- Source of emergency power.
- Ability to convert extra energy to crypto.
- More control over energy usage.
- Improves battery health.