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Summary
  • Bidirectional charging occurs when energy is sent in both directions. When plugged into a power source, the EV battery sends power to the source. The two types of bidirectional charging are vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and vehicle-to-home (V2H) charging.
  • The Ford F-150 Lightning and Tesla Cybertruck are two examples of EVs that currently offer vehicle-to-home (V2H) charging.
  • Some GM EVs will soon offer vehicle-to-home (V2H) charging through their GM Energy V2H Enablement Kit and GM Energy PowerShift Charger.

For years, electric vehicles (EVs) have provided owners with an alternative power source that could easily charge their phones, laptops, and other small appliances while on the go. With the rise of remote work, however, people now spend more time at home, increasing the demand for a steady power source in the event of a power outage. This is where bidirectional charging comes in.

What Is Bidirectional Charging?

When an EV is plugged into a power source, it captures energy and stores it in the battery. This is called one-directional charging, where energy flows in one direction. In contrast, bidirectional charging occurs when energy is sent in both directions. When plugged into a power source, the EV battery sends power to the source. There are two types of bidirectional charging:

Vehicle-To-Grid

Vehicle-to-grid, or V2G for short, refers to the two-way flow of electrical energy from the power grid to the EV or from the EV to the grid. This means you can charge your car from the grid or power the grid using the stored energy in your EV battery.

V2G charging can help alleviate the stress on power grids, especially during peak hours when energy consumption is high.

Vehicle-To-Home

Also known as V2H, vehicle-to-home charging transfers stored energy from the EV battery to your home. The EV helps reduce electric bills by acting as an alternative power source during peak demand times when electricity can be more expensive, especially in areas where utilities offer variable pricing. It can also act as a backup power source during outages.

Which EVs Currently Offer V2H Charging?

Right now, there aren’t many EVs that currently offer V2H charging. This feature is relatively new, so your options right now are quite limited. Still, these EVs are certainly worth a closer look.

Ford F-150 Lightning

As the first EV in the US to offer V2H charging, the Ford F-150 Lightning comes with a feature called “Intelligent Backup Power.” This feature allows the EV to power a home for 3 to 10 days. In order to charge your home with your Ford EV, you’ll need the following equipment:

Vehicle Charger and Software

First, you’ll need to install an 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro in your home. This vehicle charger comes with the extended-range F-150 Lightning, but you can also buy it separately for an additional $1,310 if you own a standard-range battery truck.

Home Integration System

Ford also requires that you install a Home Integration System, preferably purchased from Sunrun, so that they can help you acquire the necessary permits and other paperwork.

The Home Integration System includes a Delta Bi-Directional Inverter (BDI), a Delta Accessory Battery Pack, and a Delta Microgrid Interconnection Device (MDI) or a Whole Home Backup (WHB).

100A Circuit

To ensure the best charging performance, a 100A circuit is recommended. This should be hardwired to the home and can be installed indoors or outdoors.

Tesla Cybertruck

Among different Tesla models, the Tesla Cybertruck is the only one that currently offers V2H charging. Tesla’s Powershare technology allows you to charge electronic devices using any of the power outlets built into the EV. You can also charge another EV with up to 9.6kW by plugging its charger into the 240V outlet found in the cargo bed.

Tesla’s Powershare Home Backup also lets you power your home for up to three days with energy consumption capped at 30 kWh per day. Once it detects an outage, Powershare automatically starts providing power to your home.

Right now, Tesla offers three installation options for their Powershare technology:

Powerwall

Tesla’s Powerwall system is a home battery that stores energy generated by solar panels or the grid. It can receive power from the Cybertruck through the Wall Connector or a 240V circuit.

Universal Wall Connector and Gateway

For customers who don’t have Powerwall, you can opt to install the Universal Wall Connector and Tesla Gateway V3 instead. The Universal Wall Connector enables bidirectional charging, while the Powershare Gateway provides a seamless transition to backup power by automatically detecting outages.

Tesla Backup Switch

If you’re looking for a quicker and cheaper option, try the Tesla Backup Switch. Like the Powershare Gateway, it automatically detects outages and provides a seamless transition to backup power. It can easily be installed behind your house’s utility meter or in a standalone meter panel.

Unfortunately, it isn’t available in all regions. You can find a list of approved utility service territories by state on Tesla’s website.

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Which EVs Will Soon Offer V2H Charging?

While Ford and Tesla are the only EVs that currently offer V2H charging, the good news is that you don’t have to wait too long for other manufacturers to catch up. Several upcoming GM models are expected to offer bidirectional charging through the following upgrades:

GM Energy V2H Enablement Kit

This kit includes the Home Hub, Inverter, and Dark Start Battery. The Home Hub manages the home’s grid connection and directs energy from the EV battery as backup power. The Dark Start Battery stores power to jump-start your system during an outage. Lastly, the Inverter converts DC power into AC power, allowing you to utilize energy from your GM EV and solar panels.

GM Energy PowerShift Charger

In order to unlock the GM Energy V2H Enablement Kit’s bidirectional charging, you’ll have to buy GM Energy’s bidirectional EV charger. The PowerShift Charger powers your GM EV and transforms it into a power source during a blackout.

Some of the GM EVs compatible with this technology include the Chevrolet Silverado EV RST, GMC Sierra EV Denali, and Cadillac Lyriq.

How Much Do V2H Packages Cost?

V2H packages don’t come cheap. GM Energy’s V2H bundle costs around $7,299, excluding taxes and other installation fees. Meanwhile, the cost to install Tesla’s charger can range from $620 to over $8,000, depending on what option you’ve chosen.

What Is Vehicle-to-Load Charging?

Aside from V2G and V2H charging, some EVs also come with vehicle-to-load (V2L) charging. This type of charging lets you power other equipment or appliances by plugging them into the EV’s power outlets.

The Genesis GV60, Genesis Electrified GV70, Hyundai Kona EV Limited, and Kia EV9 are examples of EVs that offer V2L charging.

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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