Bidirectional charging could change the way we use EVs.
With electric vehicle manufacturers rapidly improving battery technology, all the focus has been on charging speed, range, and how to keep your EV as juiced up as possible. Now, bidirectional charging is set to change the way we view EVs, making them not only machines to be charged but also a means of transferring some of that power back into the grid. Nissan is another brand that has previously explored the technology in its NV300 Concept Van as well as with the Leaf.
According to a new report by electrek, the onboard charger for a Model 3 has - somewhat sneakily - already been prepped for bidirectional charging. Tesla hasn't said much about it and, in fact, previously expressed concerns about the tech because it believes that a large EV fleet is necessary to realize the full benefits of vehicle-to-grid capability. And it doesn't want bidirectional charging to diminish the primary role of an electric vehicle as a mode of transportation.
According to the report, an electrical engineer by the name of Marco Gaxiola confirmed the bidirectional charging readiness of the Model 3 when the sedan was taken apart for evaluation by a competitor. "The design is fully bidirectional," said Gaxiola. "Power can flow in a reverse direction, coming from the battery and ending up on the AC side. When this technology is present in a vehicle, it is known as V2G (vehicle to grid)."
What are the benefits of V2G? Well, your EV could theoretically be used to charge your home in the event of a power outage. One EV could even charge another, which could be greatly beneficial if a charging point is out of reach. On a larger scale, electric utilities could access power from vehicles, easing demand over peak periods. As far back as 2018, Elon Musk tweeted that the technology was worth revisiting.
A recent comment from Tesla indicates that the brand is taking a cautious approach to V2G, though. "Vehicle-to-grid benefits can be recognized much more efficiently when EV deployment is at scale rather than in the early adopter phase," said the statement. "Customer experience and willingness for participation is key." Besides that, V2G could lead to increased battery degradation, the last thing that Tesla or any other EV automaker would want.
With over a million Teslas on the road, that works out to a theoretical 10GW of mobile power that could be tapped into. This fact, along with the new knowledge that the Model 3 is already set up for bidirectional charging, indicates that it may not be long before electric vehicles are utilized as a power source, not just a means of emissions-free transportation.