Electric vehicles (EVs) have taken the automotive world by storm, but their impact goes beyond eco-friendly driving. The concept of “smart charging” (or V1G) is ubiquitous, with power flowing from the grid to the EV, but there are also exciting developments in two-way charging, such as Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) and Vehicle-to-Home (V2H), which are changing the way we use energy.
Smart Charging vs. Two-way Charging
Let’s start by understanding the difference between smart charging and bidirectional charging. In smart charging, power is routed from the grid to the EV for charging. This offers the possibility of adjusting the charging time so that electricity can be used during off-peak hours, which helps balance the load on the grid.
Bidirectional charging, however, is an exciting concept where power can flow in both directions. This means the EV can not only charge, but also act as an energy storage unit for the grid or even your home. This allows you to use excess energy in your EV to power your home, which is especially useful when the sun is not shining and solar power is scarce.
Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) and Vehicle-to-Home (V2H)
Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) is a concept where the EV feeds electricity back to the local grid. This means that your EV is not only a means of transport, but also a source of energy for others. This can help stabilise the power grid and reduce peak loads.
Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) is very similar to V2G, with one key difference. Instead of sending electricity to the grid, your EV powers other electrical appliances in your home. This means you can use your EV as a temporary energy storage unit, making you less dependent on the grid. Imagine being able to power your heat pump or other appliances with the energy stored in your EV on a cloudy day.
The Role of Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X)
Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) is an umbrella concept that refers to communication between vehicles and any connected device. It encompasses both V2G and V2H and opens the door to a wide range of applications, including smart charging and energy management.
For V2G and V2H to work, there are some technical requirements:
Bidirectional Charging Plugs: These must allow power in both directions. Popular plug types for this purpose are the CHAdeMo plug and the CCS plug.
Bidirectional EVs: Not all EVs support bidirectional charging. Some well-known automakers such as Nissan, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Ford, Genesis and Kia already offer bidirectional EVs, while other manufacturers such as Volkswagen, BMW and Volvo are expected to follow in the future.
An Extended Energy Management System (EMS): This provides seamless communication between your EV, the grid and other devices in your home. It allows your EV to know when to charge or discharge to maximise efficiency and cost savings.
Communication protocols: These control bidirectional communication between your vehicle and charging stations. Protocols such as OCPP 2.0, ISO 15118 and IEC 15118 are crucial.
A Charging Station with V2X functionality: Make sure your charging station supports this feature.
The era of smart charging and bi-directional charging has arrived. It not only makes the use of EVs more efficient, but also helps stabilise our power grid and reduce our dependence on the grid. It is a win-win situation for both EV owners and society as a whole.