Electric vehicles (EVs) have become a symbol of sustainable transportation, offering a cleaner and greener alternative to traditional internal combustion engine vehicles.
As the world shifts toward a low-carbon future, auto giants are actively investing in innovative technologies to support the widespread adoption of EVs. However, the transition to electric mobility requires more than just the widespread adoption of EVs; it demands a robust charging infrastructure that can meet the needs of a growing electric fleet.
One such technology gaining attention is bidirectional EV charging, which allows vehicles to not only draw energy from the grid but also send excess electricity back.
In this article, we will explore the concept of bidirectional EV charging, its potential benefits, and why auto giants such as Volvo are investing in this technology.
Understanding Bidirectional EV Charging
Bidirectional EV charging, also known as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging, allows electric vehicles to act as energy storage units and participate in the electricity grid ecosystem.
Unlike traditional unidirectional charging systems, where energy flows only from the grid to the vehicle, bidirectional charging enables a two-way exchange. This means that EVs can not only charge their batteries using electricity from the grid but also discharge excess energy back to the grid or use it to power other devices.
Advantages of Bidirectional EV Charging
1. Grid Stabilization and Flexibility
One of the key advantages of bidirectional charging is its potential to stabilize the electric grid and increase its flexibility. EVs equipped with bidirectional capabilities can provide additional power during peak demand periods or times when renewable energy sources are intermittent. By intelligently managing the flow of electricity, bidirectional charging can help balance supply and demand fluctuations, reducing strain on the grid and minimizing the risk of blackouts.
2. Integration of Renewable Energy Sources
Bidirectional charging plays a crucial role in integrating renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, into the grid. EVs can store excess energy generated during times of high renewable energy production and inject it back into the grid when demand exceeds supply. This enables better utilization of clean energy and helps offset the intermittent nature of renewable sources, making the grid more resilient and sustainable.
3. Cost Savings for EV Owners
Bidirectional charging can provide significant cost savings for EV owners. By participating in vehicle-to-grid programs, EV owners can sell excess energy back to the grid during high-demand periods when electricity prices are higher. This additional revenue stream can help offset the initial investment of purchasing an EV and reduce the overall cost of ownership. Moreover, bidirectional charging can also enable EV owners to take advantage of time-of-use electricity pricing, charging their vehicles during off-peak hours when electricity rates are lower.
4. Emergency Backup Power
Bidirectional charging transforms EVs into emergency backup power sources. During power outages or natural disasters, EVs with bidirectional capabilities can supply electricity to homes, businesses, or critical infrastructure, acting as mobile power banks. This functionality enhances the resilience of the electricity system and ensures uninterrupted power supply during challenging situations.
Thus, with increasing electric mobility and the need for smart charging infrastructure, the need for sustainability also arises. The systemic bidirectional EV charging caters to this need, which is driving growth in the market.
According to data insights from BIS Research, the global bidirectional electric vehicle charger market was valued at $0.93 billion in 2022 and is anticipated to reach $4.82 billion by 2031, witnessing a CAGR of 20.02% during the forecast period 2022-2031.
Volvo’s Investment in Bidirectional Charging
On 17th May 2023, auto giant Volvo Cars made a significant investment in the bidirectional EV charging startup dcbel, based in Canada, as the company aims to provide a complete home energy management solution for its buyers.
The investment comes as Volvo continues its commitment to a full hybrid or electric vehicle lineup for all its models and targets selling one million electrified cars by 2025.
To enhance the ownership experience and support its transition to electric mobility, Volvo has invested in dcbel through its venture capital firm, Volvo Cars Tech Fund. The investment will support dcbel’s research and development efforts, as well as its go-to-market initiatives for its home energy system.
The dcbel r16 home energy system enables automated management of solar power generated from rooftop photovoltaics, storing it in stationary battery storage.
This system allows homeowners to take advantage of bidirectional charging, sending energy back from a Volvo EV to their homes (vehicle-to-home) to save on utility costs during peak hours or even selling excess energy back to the grid (vehicle-to-grid). Furthermore, the system supports the simultaneous charging of two EVs.
Rising energy prices and frequent blackouts pose challenges for consumers, and Volvo’s investment in dcbel and its technology aims to address these challenges and provide solutions for customers.
Customers who choose to purchase dcbel’s home energy system will have the option to buy and customize their vehicle and renewable energy in one bundle online. Once the system is active, homeowners can monitor and control their energy usage through a smartphone app, which updates every five minutes to determine the best ways to utilize, store, or sell their home energy.
Volvo has already announced that its upcoming EX90 model will be the brand’s first electric car with bidirectional EV charging capabilities, further highlighting the company’s commitment to sustainable and integrated energy solutions.
The future of bidirectional charging holds immense potential for transforming the energy landscape. As electric vehicles become more prevalent, bidirectional charging will play a crucial role in grid stabilization, renewable energy integration, and cost optimization.
EVs equipped with bidirectional capabilities will not only consume electricity but also serve as mobile energy storage units, allowing them to supply power back to the grid during peak demand or act as emergency backup power sources.
With advancements in technology and increased investments from auto giants, bidirectional charging is poised to transform the future of utilization and distribution of energy, paving the way for a sustainable and resilient future.
For more information on this fast-growing market, please see Bidirectional Electric Vehicle Charger Market – A Global and Regional Analysis, a detailed report packed with data and insights covering bidirectional electric vehicle charger market segmentation, recent market developments, market demand, drivers and challenges, the competitive landscape, and key players. This report draws on extensive primary and secondary research to help industry players design the right business strategies for this competitive, ever-shifting market.
About the Publisher: BIS Research is a global market intelligence, research and advisory company that focuses on emerging technology trends that are likely to disrupt the market. Its team includes industry veterans, experts, and analysts with diverse backgrounds in consulting, investment banking, government, and academia.