Inflation, rising utility bills, and $5.00 premium gasoline are contributing to the popularity of residential solar energy and a doubling of EV sales in the U.S. in Q1, 2022. The invasion of Ukraine, the pandemic, and climate-related extreme events have conspired to increase energy and fuel costs, causing drivers’ frustration at the pump and homeowner’s angst regarding dependence on public utilities and home safety.
Automakers have responded to the sea-change in consumer demand with a deluge of new EV models, from the Lucid Air and Mercedes-Benz EQE to the Audi E-Tron, the Rivian, and the Cadillac Lyriq. While manufacturers have reduced their overall TV advertising budgets in 2022, EV advertising has increased fourfold. One of the more compelling new EV ads features the soon-to-be-released Ford F-150 Lightning with the potential to address each of these concerns, the price of gasoline, rising utility costs, and backup electricity during a power outage – brilliant!
How does Ford’s electric pickup truck accomplish all of this – due to its bidirectional charging capability. This article explains bidirectional charging, which facilitates V2G, V2H, and V2L, and introduces Wallbox, the company responsible for the versatile new Quasar 2 Bidirectional EV charger – also brilliant!
What is an EV Bidirectional Charger
The bi-directional charger is a relatively new technology that allows an EV to send energy back to your home (V2H – vehicle-to-home), to the grid (V2G – vehicle-to-grid), or to another electrical device (V2L – vehicle-to-load) as well as receive energy from an electrical source, including solar. Examples of V2L functionality might include an electric scooter, lawnmower, or electric bike.
With a bidirectional charger, your EV charging goes both ways; electricity flows from the grid into your vehicle and can be routed back to your home, the grid, or another device. In addition, the V2H feature enables you to use your EV like a home battery system to store excess solar energy. A fully charged vehicle with a typical EV capacity of 65kWh could support the average home for several days – longer when paired with rooftop solar.
Uses of a Bidirectional Charger – V2H
The obvious application for V2H is in the event of a power outage, brownouts, rolling blackouts, or another natural disaster. Your vehicle supplements or replaces your solar battery system and renders a generator redundant. Like a solar battery system, the V2H functionality reduces grid dependency and can save on home energy costs. If energy rates are too high during peak hours, simply charge your vehicle during off-peak hours, then use that energy during peak hours to power your home.
Uses of a Bidirectional Charger – V2L
With V2L, you can power other electric devices external to your car, using your vehicle versus energy from the grid. In addition to the previously cited examples, V2L is ideal for camping equipment, powering tools at remote locations, or emergency situations. Now your EV batteries power your vehicle’s motors, but they can also power much more.
Uses of a Bidirectional Charger – V2G
V2G or vehicle-to-grid is designed to export energy back to the electrical grid. As the technology becomes more prevalent and utilities develop their policies, you may be able to send energy back to the grid for discounts on your energy bill.
More importantly, the V2G function could play a key role during periods when grid demand is very high. As stated, EVs have large batteries, and the combined power of many vehicles routing energy back to the grid could be impactful. Recently, Porsche conducted a V2G pilot program, pooling multiple Taycan’s sending power back to the grid. The pilot proved the benefits of V2G technology and its potential to transform the methods to store and generate energy.
EVs Offering Bidirectional Charging
Although Ford’s F-150 Lightning is the EV best known for its bidirectional capability, other manufacturers have integrated the feature into their models. However, since bidirectional is a relatively new concept, not all EV automakers have done so yet. Below is a list of those models that have:
- Audi E-Tron
- BMW i3 – although not yet available in the U.S.
- Chevy Bolt
- Ford Lightning – not available on the Mustang Mach E or the Ford E-Transit
- GMC Hummer – coming in 2024
- Hyundai Ioniq 5
- Kia Soul
- Kia Niro
- Lucid Air
- Mitsubishi Outlander
- Nissan LEAF
- Nissan e-NV200 (van)
- Rivian Pickup Truck – promising bi-directional charging
- Volvo – starting with the successor to the XC90
- VW ID.4
- Tesla has not ventured into the bidirectional charger system yet, perhaps because it is seen as a conflict with its Powerwall battery.
In conjunction with the F-150, Ford introduced its Home Integration System and Ford Intelligent Backup Power for at-home charging, compatible with a solar energy system. This system, exclusively engineered for the Lightning, is the perfect way for you to control your home’s power. That is, if you’re one of the lucky 200,000 who has already made your reservation and placed a deposit on Ford’s EV pickup. Ford has since stopped taking reservations, and even those with a reservation (refundable) aren’t guaranteed vehicle delivery. They’ll need to place an order with a local dealer, but Ford hasn’t said how many Lightnings it plans to build in 2022. Industry experts believe that Ford may build as many as 80,000 in 2023 after initially targeting just 40,000 vehicles annually. It sounds like it may be a long wait to get behind the wheel of Ford’s newest pickup truck.
Fortunately, other companies have innovated and are bringing bidirectional chargers to market.
The New Wallbox Quasar 2
One of the newest bidirectional chargers is the Quasar 2 from Wallbox. Known for developing state-of-the-art electric vehicle charging solutions, Wallbox makes electric vehicles better and smarter. The company, founded in Spain, now has offices in San Francisco and has opened a production facility in Arlington, Texas, to service the U.S. market.
The Quasar 2 is Wallbox’s second-generation bidirectional charger, redesigned for a slimmer, cleaner look, with more power, 11.5kW of charging or discharging power, and an array of communication options to include WiFi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, and 3G/4G. The Quasar 2 is solar compatible and has everything you need to charge your electric vehicle at home or power your home with your EV, including a suite of chargers, software, and services.
“Quasar 2 represents a breakthrough in the evolution of home energy management. Not only does it allow us to rethink the way we produce, store, and use energy on a day-to-day basis, but gives consumers the added power and comfort of being able to power their homes for over three days during a power outage.”
Enric Asunción, Co-founder and CEO of Wallbox
Quasar 2 has V2H functionality, enabling you to charge your car off-peak and use that cheaper energy during peak hours to power your home, V2G (vehicle-to-grid), sending energy back to the grid, and V2L to power other devices. Quasar 2 is also solar compatible, allowing you to charge your vehicle using clean, sustainable energy from your solar system.
Quasar 2 Blackout Mode
In addition to this second-generation Quasar being more powerful and compact for easier installation, Wallbox added a new Blackout Mode feature. In the event of a natural disaster, wildfire, or the ever more frequent Public Service Power Shutoffs, Quasar 2 will seamlessly transition your bidirectional compatible EV to be used as an emergency power source. Without access to the grid, the Q2 can protect your home and family for more than three days – longer if coupled with a solar energy system.
Quasar 2 – the More Versatile Bidirectional EV Charger
With its exquisitely executed technology and design, the Quasar 2 bidirectional charger from Wallbox can virtually convert your compatible EV to work as a giant Powerwall for your solar system. Quasar 2 for savings, safety, and security for your home and family.
PEP Solar – Partnering with Wallbox
At PEP Solar, our mission is to always provide the latest technology and highest quality components from best-in-class providers to develop solar solutions that perform beyond your expectations. We are a full-service solar company installing, servicing, inspecting, and repairing solar for homeowners and businesses in Arizona since 1978.
We are an authorized Wallbox installer, including the incredible, second-generation Quasar 2. For more expert information on the Wallbox or Quasar 2, visit us online at pepsolar.com or contact us at: (623) 552-4966.
Let’s discuss how we can enable V2H, V2G, and V2L for your home using the best products in bidirectional charging and renewable solar energy.