3. Bidirectional Charging Is the Next Big Thing
The batteries of electric cars provide enough storage to power a home for four days or more. With bidirectional charging - which allows energy to flow both into and out of EVs - we will be able to use the energy stored in EV batteries to power the grid or buildings. As bidirectional charging offers us the possibility to store energy from renewable sources for later use, it will help us to move towards a more sustainable, renewably-powered future. It can also have a return on investment for car owners who can actually sell excess energy or other grid services from their EV back to the grid.
Having this storage available as an extension of the grid opens up new possibilities that are already being exploited in the US and will only expand as we move into 2020. Europe and North America are the main hotspots of V2G (vehicle to grid) experimentation right now. The US has a solid background in this area. Indeed, V2G was pioneered at the University of Delaware by Professor Willett Kempton in the 1990s; here, the first real-world, scientific test of bidirectional charging - on frequency response with seven vehicles - took place in 2008.
The US is currently home to a couple of notable projects in this area. For instance, the INVENT 2017-2020 large scale trial run by Nuuve, with Mitsubishi, Nissan and others as partners, at the University of San Diego campus, in California. This project is still experimenting with bidirectional charging and its uses with multiple vehicle types and chargers, and hopes to support the move towards commercial deployment in the area. More projects like this are likely to pop up and begin to scale from 2020 onwards.
As a result of the growing awareness of the importance of bidirectional charging in helping us to move towards a more sustainable future, and the benefits it offers to EV drivers, there are also new bidirectional products coming to market in 2020. With the US market being so focused on home-charging, new products that cater to both the desire for bidirectional and home charging look poised to take off. For instance, Wallbox’s new bidirectional Quasar charger, launching in the US next year, should cater to this new trend and contribute to expanding its appeal beyond commercial and research-led projects to the domestic market.