Are you eco-conscious and want to live a greener lifestyle? Do you own an EV to reduce the impact of carbon emission on our planet? Are you interested in making the most out of your EV and using it for other purposes?
If yes, then there is a chance that you might have heard about bidirectional chargers. Whether you know about them or not, we will explain this new technology in great detail in the following article.
Instead of getting confused by complicated mechanical jargon on the internet, keep reading to learn about the various benefits of bidirectional charging.
How does Bidirectional Charging work?
To understand the dynamics behind bidirectional charging, you should first know how an EV is normally charged.
After you connect your car’s battery to a DC rapid charging station, AC or alternating current from the grid is converted and stored inside the vehicle in the form of DC or direct current. For this purpose, you either have an AC-DC converter inside the EV or a built-in converter inside the charger.
On the other hand, bidirectional charging is as simple as it sounds; that is, the charging goes both ways. You can send the energy stored inside the car battery to your house or the grid.
However, this is where complications arise. Like how you needed to convert AC to DC in one-way charging, you need to convert the DC back to AC to send it back to the grid.
Hence, a bidirectional charger contains a converter for rapid electrical conversions and controlling the rate of flow of electricity.
Also known as V2G system, or vehicle to grid system, a bidirectional charger is perfect for all plug-in electric cars. These include plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles.
Difference between Smart Charging and Bidirectional Charging
Smart charging allows you to control your EV charging by connecting it to a smart device. Hence, you can manage the charging time and rate by using data connections between the smart charger and the EV.
Mainly, all your EV data is sent to the utility company and the charging operator to optimize your EV charging. The charging operator, be it you or some business person, decides how long to charge the EV, what time to charge it, and even the rate.
As a result, you can charge your EV at the most feasible and energy-efficient time to save money on bills. It could be at night-time when the demand is low or when there is little electricity usage.
Besides this, utility companies can define electric limits to prevent excessive energy consumption, thereby efficiently using electricity.
On the other hand, as mentioned previously, bidirectional charging allows energy to flow to and from the car battery by converting it from AC to DC and vice versa. Smart charging can work with both unidirectional EV charging and bidirectional charging.
Uses of Bidirectional Charging
Now that we know about bidirectional charging, let us move on to its applications. How can we incorporate it into our daily life? Why do you need it in the first place? Will it help you to lower your energy cost?
To know the answer to these critical questions, keep reading the following sections about its uses.
Since the stock of Electrical Vehicles is expected to rise to 245 million by 2030 across the globe, there will be a massive reservoir of energy worldwide.
This tremendous amount of energy can be beneficial at times when energy demand outweighs the power supply. Just like stationary energy units, EVs can return energy to the grid using the Vehicle to Grid or V2G system.
Here, EVs use bidirectional chargers to convert the stored DC back to AC and use it to stabilize local or national energy demands. With most of the EVs plugged into their docking station throughout 95% of the day, smart charging helps give back the stored energy during peak hours.
Not only are the EV batteries a cost-efficient energy reservoir, but they also do not require any extra hardware. Likened to a battery on wheels, parked and plugged-in EVs are one of the smartest ways to utilize renewable energy production in the future.
Just like V2G, the Vehicle to Home or V2H uses built-in converters in bidirectional chargers to convert AC to DC. Then, the power is supplied to any house or building during peak hours.
Hence, you can use your EV to balance even regional and national grids. By charging during the night when the power demand is low, EVs can act as an energy reservoir for your homes during the day. As such, you can use EV to lower the pressure on the grid and reduce energy consumption.
Not only is it an energy-efficient way to save up money, but the bidirectional charging of EV can also provide clean, eco-friendly energy for your homes.
For example, you can use your EV to store renewable energy sources, solar or wind energy, and use them when they are not readily available. Consequently, EVs have a massive potential for propagating clean energy and help us reduce global warming.
What are the Benefits of Bidirectional Charging?
Since we know that bidirectional charging can help us use our electric cars as an external energy reservoir, let us look at the main benefits.
Emergency Power Reservoir
With the world shifting towards renewable energy resources, it is crucial to know how they are affected by climate change. While most supplies are self-sufficient, you should always prepare for the worst outcomes.
This is where EVs can help us out by offering a cost-efficient way of storing this clean, renewable energy. The bidirectional charger will convert the DC to AC and use it to power your houses during power outages or even a natural hazard. For instance, an earthquake or a tsunami could knock out your local power supply and leave you without electricity.
In such cases, an EV can power your house for a couple of days until the energy lines are restored. Who does not want a continuous emergency power supply without spending extra on any hardware?
Selling Power to the Grid
Who does not want to make some extra money by giving something back to their country? With an energy backup in your parked or plugged-in EV, you can sell this power to the grid when the country’s energy demand is at its highest.
Hence, an EV owner can use bidirectional chargers to convert and give the energy back during peak hours. Meanwhile, this energy can come from any source, including your solar panel, your home power source, or any charger you might encounter.
Since some countries offer lower electricity charges during off-peak hours, you can charge your EV at a lower rate during the night. Similarly, you can sell the same power to the grid at a higher price during peak hours of the day.
While the money might not be substantial, it can help cut down your monthly bill.
A few countries are actively working to promote the use of EV throughout the population. By offering lower charging rates during off-peak hours, they also encourage EV owners to save money on electricity bills.
Additionally, some governments offer incentives to ensure that not every EV owner is charging their cars during the day. It further helps to reduce the pressure on the national grid across the country.
Moreover, you can use your energy backup from the overnight charging to power your house throughout the day. If this energy was coming from a renewable solar panel, you could save money on a monthly electricity bill.
With the rise in global warming, people are looking for effective energy-efficient methods to reverse the damage on the planet. Bidirectional EV can help these conscious people by offering a means for harnessing renewable energy. They can then use this energy along with the power from grid lines for their home usage.
Furthermore, a few countries offer incentives to encourage their citizens to generate renewable energy for themselves. You can use this energy during the day, night, or keep it as an emergency reservoir. On top of it, you can even sell excess power to the grid.
In this way, small communities can move towards a future where they can become energy self-sufficient and reduce the demand on the country’s resources.
Although bidirectional charging is not widely popular yet, many developed countries have welcomed a cleaner and greener future. With sales rising by leaps and bounds every year, it will not be much soon when a vast proportion of the world will be using bidirectional EV charging to power their houses, make money, and become energy self-sufficient.
As an EV owner, a bidirectional charger will help you progress and live an eco-friendly and greener lifestyle.