Electric cars with plugs to conquer Europe

The success of electric cars in China is undoubted: we are talking about a market in which, by 2022, one in five new models was battery-powered. There, a good part of the population sees in them more than a vehicle: they are, at the same time, a source of energy. And the manufacturers know it: which is why they advertise them by selling them as “batteries on wheels”. This may be the key to finally seducing Europe.

The key lies in one of its characteristics: bidirectional charging. Electric cars with plugs have become a basic bet for brands because, for potential drivers, they are not only a cleaner and cheaper way to get around: they are also a source of electricity for their daily lives and, above all, for a emergency.

What is the key of the two-way upload?

As its own name indicates, in the bidirectional load energy flows in both directions: from the car to another object, to a house or to the grid and vice versa. And it is that in vehicles with plugs we find several possibilities:

  • Vehicle to Load (V2L): the driver can use the energy in the battery of his electric car to power other external devices. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is equipped with this system and the Integrated Charge Control Unit (ICCU) controls the flow of energy without additional elements. In the specific case of the South Korean model, the power is up to 3.6 kW.
  • Vehicle to Grid (V2G): In this case, the driver can return to the network the energy that his car has not used by integrating it into the electrical distribution network and improving the energy balance.
  • Vehicle to Home (V2H): With this bi-directional charging and with the help of a direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) converter, which is usually built into the vehicle itself, the car can supply power to a home.
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The ace up your sleeve

In several Asian markets, bidirectional charging is one more equipment for the electric cars sold there. Occurs in Japan with Mitsubishi and with the nissan leaf, that emphasizes its usefulness for those drivers whose homes are exposed to power cuts derived from some climatic phenomena such as typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis.

Hyundai does the same in South Korea forks China where we find more examples: BYD, Geely Auto (Zeekr 001) or Li Auto and its L8. So much so that in local ads, they show drivers camping in the open while drinking a fresh coffee thanks to their electric SUV. Even in the United States, Ford highlights this feature in the F-150 Lightning, its electric pick-up.

markets like Europe and the United States continue to resist to this type of car, but the manufacturers see this mix of practicality, sustainability and fun as an ace up their sleeve to seduce European and American drivers. Brands are hoping two-way charging will start to take off in many other places because it’s a quality they find too attractive to resist.

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Yes indeed, It has its B side. Until now, talking about these electric vehicles with plugs is talking about large and expensive models (SUVs, pick-ups…). In some cases (V2G), moreover, bidirectional charging requires investing in an additional converter. And finally, it remains to be seen if it would accelerate the degradation of a key component: the battery.

About Alicia Peters

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