What is Bidirectional Charging?

There are many reasons why someone purchasing a vehicle may choose an electric model. They offer benefits for the environment, are cheaper to run and feature the latest in technology, making them an appealing option. Even though EVs are now common on our roads there are still new and exciting technologies being released all the time – and one of the latest is bidirectional charging.

How does bidirectional charging work?

Most electric vehicles rely on unidirectional charging to power them. This means that alternating current from the grid is converted to a direct current to charge the battery of the vehicle. Bidirectional charging is more advanced. It is capable of two-way charging, so you can charge your electric vehicle battery and use the energy stored in the car to push it back to the grid. It’s a versatile solution that means in the event of a spike in your electricity usage, you coud use energy from your car battery rather than the grid to save money.

The uses for bidirectional charging

Bidirectional chargers can be used for two applications. The most common is vehicle-to-grid, or V2G, which is designed to send or export energy to the power grid when demand is at its highest. If hundreds of vehicles with V2G technology are enabled, it has the potential to completely transform how electricity is generated and stored at scale. EVs have large batteries, so combining the power of numerous vehicles could have a huge impact.

V2X refers to describe the variations of this technology:

  • Vehicle-to-grid/V2G – The EV exports energy to the electricity grid
  • Vehicle-to-home/V2H – The EV can be used to power a property
  • Vehicle-to-load/V2L – The EV can be used to power appliances or other EVs, though this technology doesn’t necessarily require a bidirectional charger to work

V2H technology works like a home battery system, so you can store excess solar energy to power your home or business. The average EV has a considerably larger battery capacity than the average home battery system, so it can be an efficient alternative that could support the power needs for the average home for several days, or even longer when combined with a solar PV system. However, this setup requires specific technology to be installed to make V2H possible.

Is bidirectional charging the same as vehicle-to-grid charging?

While the terms are often used interchangeably, bidirectional and V2G charging are not exactly the same. Bidirectional charging refers to two-way charging, so you can charge and discharge. But V2G is just a single flow of energy in one direction – from the car battery to the grid. However, bidirectional technology is only possible thanks to V2G.

Are bidirectional and smart charging the same?

Smart charging depends on a cloud connection between an EV, an EV charger and a charging operator. Without this cloud connection, there is no way for information to flow between the grid and the vehicle, so it wouldn’t be possible to know when the power grid requires balancing. While these two technologies are different, they are connected in the sense that bidirectional charging is dependent on smart technology.

The benefits of bidirectional chargers

As the world of motoring leans more towards electrification, energy shortage becomes an increasing concern. But bidirectional charging offers a sustainable solution that can manage temporary spikes in electricity locally. There are several benefits to choosing bidirectional chargers:

Energy storage

If electricity is produced but not used or stored, it’s wasted. V2G and EV batteries make it possible to store excess renewably produced power in car batteries, so it can be used in the future when we need it most.

Reduced pressure on the grid

Relying on electricity stored in your electric vehicle rather than the grid lowers the demand on the power grid and can prevent it from overloading. Grid overload is something that can occur in the winter when temperatures drop and the demand on the grid increases.

The momentary spike in energy destabilises the grid and results in energy shortages. Bidirectional charging distributes the power where it’s needed first, preserving the grid while also meeting local power needs.

Better for the environment

Bidirectional charging is a highly effective way to make your property is even more sustainable and eco-friendly than before, particularly if you combine the technology with other renewable energy systems such as solar panels or heat pumps. It keeps your power grid requirements to a minimum and puts less pressure on the environment.

Contact us

EV owners have plenty to gain from choosing a bidirectional charger. If you’re interested in having a bidirectional charger fitted on your property or you’re keen to learn more about how you can benefit from this technology, please contact the team at Geo Green Power today.

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