Volvo’s upcoming new all-electric flagship model – the EX90 – will offer bi-directional charging; this means you can use the batteries in the SUV to power your home.
This isn’t a new idea – the Nissan Leaf has had this functionality for years, and it was one of the talking points for the new Ford F-150 electric truck. But in reading about the new Volvo, some interesting points have been raised. For example, since the car can basically act as a storage battery for the home, you can actively use the car as a participant in your energy regime. If energy rates on the gird are low at certain times of the day, you charge your car. If they are high, you can use the power stored in the car to power your home and save some dollars, and then charge up when the rates go down.
The other cool feature is that if you have solar panels on your roof, you no longer have to necessarily buy a home battery to store power. With a fully charged EX90 in the garage, if the power goes out you can run the fridge and the heat and the TV from your car.
This functionality won’t have much effect in the short term however. You’ll need to have hardware installed in your house – specifically a home-charging unit – which is able to process the bi-directional flow. And each local utility has their own rules about energy flowing back into the grid from homes. It’s going to be a few years before we can take full advantage of what bi-directional charging can offer.
But the potential is there: as our power grids get smarter with new technology, consumers will have more control over how they power their homes and how they can save money in doing so. It’s another reason why electrification in the auto industry is inevitable.