I’ve been very outspoken about the potential benefits of bidirectional charging technology. V2G(Vehicle-To-Grid) charging could help massively accelerate adoption of renewable energy like solar without requiring massive battery pack installations. But up until now, very few auto manufacturers seemed interested in the technology, with Nissan primarily leading the charge with their CHAdeMO standard.
But it seems like Audi is looking at the possibility of adding bidirectional charging capabilities to their cars. They’ve partnered with the Hager Group to research the technology and released a fantastic video explaining how it works.
I love this video because it gives a very clear example of the intended use case for bidirectional charging. They seem focused on the more specific, limited use-case of V2H, or Vehicle-To-Home charging. We haven’t talked much about V2H charging, and it’s often used interchangeably with V2G.
The primary difference is that V2H is not actually connected to the grid, and the bidirectional charging capability is primarily used as an emergency power source. You won’t be able to trade energy in real-time like you could with a Powerwall to save money on electricity in a V2H setup.
This definitely seems like a major downside, but it’s a more practical step to move towards than V2G. The problem has nothing to do with the tech inside the car and everything to do with a lack of standardization. There are thousands of power companies across the planet and unless they can all agree on a V2G standard auto manufacturers can’t market V2G capabilities. Like I said the Nissan Leaf has bidirectional charging capabilities, but good luck trying to hook that into the grid anywhere outside of Japan.
But the simple addition of bidirectional charging capabilities is enough for me. We can’t work towards unifying V2G standards without any vehicles capable of bidirectional charging. The experimental e-Tron Sportback that they have added bidirectional charging to will be able to charge V2H or V2G with the right equipment.
And while they haven’t spoken a word about it, it would be able to charge V2V if that ever catches on. The ability to charge another vehicle with your own car solves the major problem of getting stranded without charge. It’s like bringing your friend a Jerry can when they run out of gas.
The most important part is that they are working to have this technology available. You probably won’t be able to buy a new e-Tron and hook it into the grid for quite a few years. And with so few manufacturers working towards V2V charging that’s probably quite some time off too. But with the technology on board, the only limiting factor for these use cases is the availability of equipment to enable them. With Audi looking to add that technology, anything is possible in the future.
So when is Tesla going to add bidirectional charging capabilities?
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