If you drive a car, you’re probably painfully aware of the volatility of gas prices – so, it should be no surprise that one of the primary drivers of electric vehicle (EV) adoption is improving energy security. But did you know that some EVs can also charge appliances in your house, help you avoid peak electricity rates, and serve as a constant and reliable source of electricity?
Vehicle-to-load (V2L) charging allows you to charge devices directly with your EV, which is particularly beneficial as power outages continue to increase in frequency and the cost of electricity becomes higher. In this article, we’ll explain what V2L charging is, how it works, and when it can be helpful to have an EV that supports this technology.
- V2L charging enables you to use the battery in your EV to power another device.
- V2L technology relies on an onboard converter to convert direct current (DC) from the battery to alternating current (AC) before it can be compatible with household items.
- V2L charging has several advantages, including improving energy security in camping trips and power outages.
- Want to increase your energy security and reduce dependency on the grid? Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to receive free quotes from local installers.
What’s in this article
- What is V2L charging?
- How does V2L charging work?
- Can all EV’s perform V2L charging?
- What are the benefits of V2L charging?
What is vehicle-to-load charging?
Vehicle-to-load charging is a bidirectional power feature that enables you to use the battery in an EV to power another device. While the car is sitting idle, the battery is able to connect to other devices such as a phone, a kettle, and even another EV to transfer power to it. Essentially, compatible EVs function as rechargeable power banks that you can use to charge another device – then, when the battery runs low, you can plug in the vehicle and charge it up again.
How does vehicle-to-load charging work?
Vehicle-to-load technology relies on an onboard converter to convert the direct current (DC) electricity stored in your EV’s battery to alternating current (AC) electricity, which is used by most common appliances and devices. You then may have to plug an external adapter into your EV’s charging port; this serves as a three-prong socket so you can directly plug in any necessary devices, like a phone charger, fan, light, or electric kettle. If you want to charge more than one device at a time, you can also look into splitter devices or multi pin ports, as long as your car battery is able to support the load. Some EVs also have built-in sockets so you won’t need an adapter to perform V2L charging.
Can all EVs perform vehicle-to-load charging?
In theory, most EVs should be able to support this technology. An EV battery can hold up to twice the amount of energy most households require in a single day – so, it should hypothetically be able to power multiple loads. However, in order for this electricity conversion to occur, your EV’s software needs to be programmed to support it. Many existing EVs don’t currently have this software, but if your EV is capable of receiving over-the-air updates, it could be programmed in the future to support V2L charging.
There are a few EVs that have software that already allows for V2L charging, including the Kia EV6, Hyundai ioniq 5, and Ford F150 Lightning. Many future EVs will already be programmed with software that supports V2L charging – and will also likely come with built-in sockets so you won’t even need an adapter to plug in into your devices.
What EVs currently support V2L charging?
We’ve compiled a list of EVs that currently support V2L charging so you can compare options based on the cost, size of the battery, power rating, and number of outlets already built into the car.
|Electric vehicle||Starting cost (before incentives)||Battery capacity (kilowatt-hours, kWh)||Battery power rating (kilowatts, kW)||Number of built-in outlets|
|Kia EV6||$41,000+||58 - 77.4 kWh||3.6 kW||One 120-volt|
|Hyundai ioniq 5||$41,450+||58 -77.4 kWh||3.6 kW||Two 120-volt|
|Ford F150 Lightning||$51,974+||98 or 101 kWh||9.6 kW||10 120-volt, one USB-A, one USB-C, and one 240-volt|
What appliances can V2L charging support?
When you’re considering how many appliances your EVs battery can support, it’s important to consider both its capacity and power rating. Capacity (measured in kWh) is a measure of the maximum amount of electricity stored in your battery on a full charge – it’s a good indication of how long you’ll be able to power devices depending on their load sizes.
Power (measured in kW), on the other hand, is a measure of how much electricity can be supported at a single time. You can’t power loads that exceed your EV’s power rating. To understand which loads you can power with your EV (and for how long), we break down below how much electricity common household appliances need. Keep in mind that one kW = 1,000 watts – so, assuming you’re only powering one load at a time, all three EVs shown above can power these loads (except for another EV depending on its battery size), but some may only be able to run for short periods of time depending on your battery’s capacity.
|Device||Electricity used (Watts)|
|Phone charger||5 W|
|Hair dryer||1,800 W|
|Microwave||600 to 1,000 W|
|Electric stove||1,000 to 3,000 W|
|Air conditioner||500 to 400 W|
|Electric vehicle||7,200 W|
|LED light bulbs||10 W|
What are the benefits of vehicle-to-load charging?
Vehicle-to-load charging has several advantages, including providing energy security during camping trips or power outages and lowering your electric bill if you live in an area with demand charges or time-of-use (TOU) rates.
Vehicle-to-load charging is especially helpful for camping trips so you can easily power appliances like stoves and phones on the go. It enables you to drive to the most remote locations, but still have access to some source of reliable power for basic needs and safety. In upcoming EV models like the Ford F-150 Lightning and the F-150 PowerBoost, there will also be the option of charging another EV in case you need to help out a friend or family member in a pinch!
Power outages can be scary and frustrating – but with V2L charging, you’ll be able to use your EV to power your essentials. Being able to charge your phone and have access to basics such as an electric stove can be very helpful in maintaining some normalcy in your routine. There’s also talk of something called V2H, or vehicle to home charging, which will allow your EV to charge your entire house if there’s a prolonged power outage. However, this requires a large amount of battery power and the technology in most EVs today doesn’t support it yet.
Avoiding peak electricity rates
If you’ve checked your electric bill recently, you’re probably aware that the cost of electricity is constantly increasing – in fact, due to a surge in the price of natural gas, electricity prices are reaching all time highs in the U.S. With many utility companies using TOU rates or demand charges in electricity pricing, you’ll want to avoid consuming too much electricity when the price is high. Using V2L charging in peak hours can help reduce the amount of electricity you need to pull from the grid, lowering electricity costs while still providing access to all the appliances and devices you need.
Power your EV with the sun
Vehicle-to-load charging is just one way to reduce your dependency on the grid and increase your energy security. Investing in solar panels can help charge your EV in a cleaner and more efficient way. Check out the EnergySage Marketplace to compare several quotes from pre-screened installers to find a solar energy system that fits your needs and budget. If you’re planning to charge an EV at home, simply make a note in your profile so your installer can help size your system accordingly.