Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) Charging From Your Electric Vehicle

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Powering Your Home with Your Car? Discover Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) Charging from your Electric Vehicle!

As summer storms and heatwaves become more intense across Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, power outages increasingly disrupt our daily lives. While backup generators provide some relief, they’re noisy, polluting, and require constant refuelling. But what if your car could keep your lights on and fridge running during a blackout? Enter vehicle-to-load (V2L) – the cutting-edge technology transforming electric vehicles (EVs) into mobile power sources.

As electric vehicles become increasingly popular, one exciting development is Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) charging, which allows your EV to act as a backup power source for your home. This means that during power outages or off-grid adventures, your EV can keep essential appliances running, offering a practical and eco-friendly solution to energy needs.

Our team of licensed electricians specialises in integrating emerging technologies like V2L into Melbourne homes. Today, we’re thrilled to give you the run-down on this game-changing solution and its many benefits.

This blog will explain what V2L is, how it differs from Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), and how you can set it up in your Melbourne home.

What is Vehicle-to-Load?

Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) is an innovative technology that allows you to use your electric vehicle (EV) as a backup power source for your home. Some modern EVs are engineered with smart inverters that can convert the vehicle’s DC battery power into AC electricity compatible with regular household sockets and appliances. You can instantly tap into a powerful mobile power source during outages by simply plugging into your EV (via built-in 10A or 15A socket outlets or an adaptor).

In essence, V2L transforms your EV into a home battery that can be used to power your home during power outages. However, it’s important to note that V2L only functions when your home is disconnected from the grid, such as during a blackout. This means that V2L operates in isolation from the grid, and you cannot use your EV as a battery using V2L while simultaneously drawing electricity from the grid. For that functionality, you would need a Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) setup.

Another critical point to remember is that while you are using your EV battery for V2L, you cannot use your EV charger to charge your car. This means you need to manage your EV’s battery charge carefully, especially if you rely on it for transportation as well as a power source during outages.

How is V2L Different from Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G)?

Before we dive into V2L, let’s quickly address its more well-known cousin: vehicle-to-grid (V2G). While both V2L and Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) enable your EV to power your home, they operate differently and serve distinct purposes. V2G is a more complex system compared to V2L. But in simple terms, V2G allows electric vehicles with special bi-directional chargers to supply excess power back to the electricity grid during peak demand periods as well as power your home using energy from the EV battery.

V2G requires an EV with bi-directional charging capabilities and a more complex setup involving a bi-directional charger, which is currently only approved for use in South Australia. While Australia trails nations like the UK and Japan in widespread V2G deployment, promising trials are already underway by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) in Canberra to unlock this two-way energy transfer capability locally.

Why is Vehicle-to-Load Helpful?

On the surface, using your car as a backup generator sounds brilliantly simple, and it absolutely is! V2L allows you to power your home’s essential systems, including lighting and appliances, during a power outage. This ensures you can maintain some normalcy and comfort during blackouts. With V2L, you can still keep your lights on, your fridge running, and even enjoy a warm meal, making the situation much more manageable and less stressful.

The ingenious V2L technology brings numerous advantages over traditional backup power solutions:

Sustainable, Emission-Free Power

One of the most significant benefits of V2L is its potential to reduce dependence on fossil fuel generators, such as diesel or petrol, for backup power supply. For homes that experience semi-regular blackouts, V2L offers a cleaner, more sustainable alternative. Unlike petrol or diesel generators, EVs with V2L operate quietly, providing a more peaceful environment during use.

Cost-Effective Convenience

V2L is a far more cost-effective way to access emergency battery power for your home compared to purchasing a dedicated home battery system or a portable generator, assuming you already own a capable EV. This can save you thousands of dollars in upfront costs and ongoing maintenance.

Along with this, with V2L, you avoid the hassle of purchasing fuel during peak demand times, such as during a power outage. Instead, you can simply charge your EV at a shopping centre and then drive back to power your home, making V2L a convenient and efficient solution. This not only saves time but also ensures you’re not stuck in long queues at petrol stations when everyone else is scrambling for fuel.

Portable Power on Wheels

Planning an off-grid camping adventure or outdoor event? With V2L, you can take your power supply everywhere, plugging in essentials like lights, fridges and chargers directly into your car’s robust battery reserves. Picture yourself camping during a fire ban when you can’t use a traditional campfire. With V2L, you can power an electric camp stove to cook your meals safely.

Durable, Maintenance-Free Design

Unlike traditional generators, which require tedious annual servicing, your EV already gets its regular professional once-over as part of routine maintenance, keeping your V2L power source in prime condition year-round.

Drawbacks of V2L

Of course, every innovative technology has its limitations. Vehicle-to-load can’t realistically power your entire home simultaneously, nor does it support three-phase appliances used in some properties. You’ll also need to consciously monitor and prioritise your usage to avoid depleting your EV’s battery reserves. But for keeping essential basics like lighting, internet, entertainment systems and fridges humming along, V2L shines as the ultimate in reliable backup.

One significant limitation is that you cannot drive your car while it’s powering your home. This means you need to decide between using your EV as a power source or as a mode of transportation during a power outage.

Another drawback is that V2L is not reliable if you frequently drive long distances and often have a depleted EV battery. If your EV battery is not sufficiently charged when a power outage occurs, you may not have enough power to sustain your home’s essential systems. In these cases, a backup home generator might be a better suited solution.

Current Vehicles with V2L in Australia (2024)

Not every electric vehicle on the market boasts built-in V2L technology just yet. But as consumer demand accelerates, car brands are rapidly expanding their V2L-capable fleets. If you’re hunting for a new set of wheels with mobile power perks, check out these impressive vehicles available locally in 2024:

  • Kia’s multi-award winning EV6, the upcoming flagship EV9, and the zippy Niro EV all pack impressive battery capacities from 64.8 to 95 kWh, paired with integrated 15A power outlets perfectly suited to V2L applications.
  • Hyundai’s stylish Ioniq 5 blends sleek design appeal with a hefty 74 kWh battery and 15A output – more than enough to keep essentials powered through extended outages.
  • For budget-friendly yet V2L-capable options, MG offers the popular ZS EV, the upcoming MG4, and other future models sporting 50 to 74 kWh battery sizes with maximum outputs from 9 to 15 Amps.
  • Rapidly expanding its Australian presence, Chinese auto giant BYD’s Atto 3, Dolphin and range-topping Seal sedans all feature V2L technology paired with battery capacity up to 82 kWh and outputs up to 13.75A.
  • In the premium luxury segment, Genesis' stylish GV60, GV70 and GV80 EVs blend sophisticated styling with robust battery capacities from 74 to 82.5 kWh and 15A V2L output capability.
  • For plug-in hybrid drivers, Mitsubishi’s rugged Outlander and Eclipse Cross variants may offer a modest 13.8 kWh battery, but can still serve up a handy 6A output for basic V2L requirements.

As consumer interest in electric vehicles accelerates and battery technologies evolve further, expect this V2L-capable family to expand rapidly across makes and models sold in Australia over the coming decade.

Some of these V2L enabled EVs come with regular AC power outlets inside the vehicle, allowing you to run an extension cord directly from the car. Others require a specific V2L adaptor that plugs into the vehicle’s charging port. It’s important to note that the adaptor for V2L is different from a regular EV charger, so you cannot charge your EV and use V2L simultaneously.

How Much Power Does V2L Provide?

One burning question on everyone’s mind: exactly how much backup power can I actually squeeze from my EV using V2L? The numbers may just surprise you!

Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) systems typically provide a power output of either 10Amps or 15Amps. The specific power capacity limits for your specific V2L system will be detailed in the user manual of your EV.

10A systems offer a continuous power output of 2.4 kilowatts – perfect for covering basic essentials. 15A variants, however, crank that capacity up to a robust 3.6 kW. That’s plenty of juice to keep luxuries like TVs, computers and even small air conditioning units humming along smoothly.

However, it’s crucial not to run the system at its maximum capacity for extended periods, as this can risk damaging the EV battery. It is recommended to use only 80-90% of the load capacity over an extended period, especially in warm weather, to ensure the longevity and efficiency of the battery.

Additionally, V2L systems come with in-built circuit breakers designed to prevent the vehicle from drawing too high a load, ensuring safe and efficient operation.

How Long Will It Last?

EV batteries are usually much larger than home battery systems, providing significantly greater capacity. For example, while a Tesla Powerwall offers up to 13.5kWh, a Kia EV6 boasts a 77.4kWh battery. This means using V2L should give you 5-10 times more power than a standard home battery setup.

Of course, real-world conditions mean your exact V2L runtime will vary based on several factors:

  • Initial Charge Level: How charged your EV battery is when a power outage occurs.
  • Battery Capacity: The total capacity of your EV battery.
  • Power Usage: What you are trying to power in your home (the size of the load).
  • Discharge Limit: The discharge limit you set for your vehicle ensures you have enough charge left to drive if needed.
  • Setup Type: Whether your setup is 10A or 15A depends on your appliance inlet socket and the capacity of your EV.

Ready For Some Numbers?

Crunching the numbers, a Kia EV6 with its beefy 77.4 kWh battery fully charged could theoretically run a full 10A load for well over 30 hours straight, or blaze through a demanding 15A load for over 20 hours non-stop! Those figures eclipse even the burliest portable petrol generators for reliable endurance.

In a scenario where you are trying to conserve power, such as an extended power outage, a fully charged EV could power your home for over a week if you’re only using small appliances. As a quick example, a 600W load covering an LED light, smart TV, modem, computer and fridge combo might only drain around 14% of a fully charged 77 kWh EV battery every 24 hours – translating to nearly 11 days of power self-sufficiency! However, using high-power appliances like a microwave, kettle, or toaster would dramatically decrease battery life.

It’s important to note that large air-conditioning units or heaters, which draw a lot of power, would probably not work well with V2L. A small reverse-cycle AC (500W) or heater (2200W) may work, but they will use up your power more quickly than running lights, a fridge, and a TV.

How Can Kenner Electrics Help?

Ready to bid farewell to power disruptions and embrace the convenience of vehicle-to-load technology? As experienced electricians, the team at Kenner Electrics has you covered with professional installations designed to optimise safety, efficiency and hassle-free performance.

While running an extension cord directly from your EV outlet to an appliance is possible, this method limits you from powering a single appliance at a time. Kenner Electrics advises against using power boards to run multiple appliances from your EV, as this can create safety issues, and loose cables running throughout your home pose a tripping hazard.

A more robust and safer option involves installing a permanent appliance inlet socket at your home. Here’s a quick overview of the key components:

Appliance Inlet Socket

This specialised power outlet, which resembles the male end of an extension cord with the pins sticking OUT, gets installed externally, typically near your driveway, for easy EV access. Think of it as the business end where you’ll plug in your V2L cable.

Double-Pole Changeover Switch

Mounted inside your switchboard, this switch lets you safely flip between grid and backup power sources like V2L. It has three positions: UP for connection to the electricity grid, MIDDLE for off, and DOWN for the secondary power connection (V2L). It must be installed in your main switchboard, not a sub-board.

  • The changeover switch connects your V2L power to your home’s power and lighting circuits. You then need to manage your power usage to ensure that you stay within your EV’s load capacity.
  • If you want to ensure that no one turns on high-powered appliances while using V2L power, you can always turn off dedicated circuits in your switchboard, like the air-conditioning circuit, or any pool pumps. Kenner Electrics can reconfigure your switchboard to ensure all your essential circuits are well-labelled.
  • If you have 3-phase power, Kenner Electrics can also reconfigure your circuits so that all your essential appliances are on the same phase so that the V2L system can power them simultaneously. We recommend switching off any 3-phase circuits when using backup power.

Circuit Protection

Overcurrent and safety switches protect the wiring on the appliance inlet circuit from overload and/or electrical shock hazards.

It is crucial that a licensed electrician like Kenner Electrics carry out this installation. Professional installation ensures that all components work correctly and safely for a safe and effective V2L setup.

We also offer EV charger installation services to ensure your electric vehicle charging needs are fully met, providing comprehensive support for all aspects of your EV and V2L setup.

Your Electric Vehicle, Your Backup Energy Solution

As our lives become increasingly electrified, technologies like vehicle-to-load are revolutionising how we think about resilient, sustainable energy sources. No longer must we burn fossil fuels or compromise during outages. V2L empowers you to keep essential appliances running and stay comfortable, even when the grid is down.

So why resign yourself to darkness and discomfort during the next blackout? Embrace the mobility of your electric future and keep life’s basics purring along no matter what chaos ensues outside. After all, with cutting-edge V2L within reach, power outages need never again grind your modern life to a halt.

Take control of your home’s energy resilience today. The team at Kenner Electrics is ready to make V2L a seamless reality, so give us a call! We’ll work closely with you to tailor robust V2L installations that maximise your EV’s energy reserves while prioritising safety, efficiency, reliability and user-friendly operation. With our expertise guiding your installation, the power to conquer life’s disruptions has arrived – all you need to do is simply plug in!

Why Choose Kenner Electrics?

Kenner Electrics is your trusted local electrician. We have a friendly and professional team of highly qualified, experienced and licensed electricians ready to handle all your commercial and residential electrical needs.

We provide up-front pricing with a clear explanation of the work required to avoid cost overruns. We provide prompt and efficient service and prioritise safety on each and every job. We are fully insured, licensed and accredited, we're a member of the National Electrical & Communications Association, and we are a registered electrical contractor with Energy Safe Victoria. We always provide compliance certificates for all completed electrical installation work.

We're one of the top rated electricians in Melbourne with over 300 genuine 5-star reviews from residential and business customers just like you.

Call our friendly team on (03) 9996 0663 or contact us online now.

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