Bi-directional charging or vehicle-to-grid (V2G), the capacity to send power from an electric car to the grid or another battery, has been under development and in pilot programs with several different automakers, but it has yet to be widely implemented.
Now Honda is the latest automaker to get on board with a new bi-directional charging station at its European headquarters as it considers the technology for its upcoming series of electric cars.
The technology enables the use of an electric car’s battery pack as a portable energy storage system to power a home or anything really.
Honda describes its new installation at its Offenbach headquarters, where they also have a 150 kW charging station:
“Through bi-directional energy transfer, electricity is drawn from the grid or is generated by photovoltaic solar panels, and is used to charge EVs plugged in to the system. While an EV is plugged in, the energy held in its battery can be transferred back to help stabilize the grid at times of short or surplus supply.”
Jörg Böttcher, Vice President of Honda R&D Europe, added:
“With the installation of the latest bi-directional charging technology at our R&D site in Germany, we are adding the next technology to our Smart Company project, which will further enhance our research activity in the field of zero-emission society and future mobility.”
The automaker currently sells its only all-electric vehicle, the Clarity Electric, a compliance car, but it plans to bring a new retro-looking urban EV to market in 2019 and other EVs based on the same platform.
Recently, they have been gradually revealing more information about their EV plans, like 15-minute charging, and now apparently V2G.
Vehicle-to-grid is a very attractive additional feature to have on an electric vehicle, but it has some drawbacks.
For example, if someone is actually looking for a permanent home energy storage solution, it’s just not it. You can’t count on your car being available with enough energy capacity to serve as home energy storage all the time.
Long range electric vehicle battery packs are optimized, or at least they should be, for weekly cycling. You can top the car off every night, but generally speaking, a full charge lasts a few days to a week for regular commuting. Therefore, it’s not optimized for energy storage aimed at grid service, which is the only way stationary energy storage systems make financial sense at this point.
For backup power though, especially in prolonged power outages, it’s an interesting solution.
It looks like we might see more of that feature in the EV industry soon.