Bidirectional charging and Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) are two of the buzziest terms in the EV world these days—but the two aren’t quite the same thing. The former is an enabling technology for the latter, which is a package of applications that include using an EV as a backup power source and providing services to electric utilities for compensation.
Bidirectional charging is now available as a feature on some of the newest EVs (including Ford’s F-150 Lightning and Hyundai’s Ioniq 5), and it’s expected to be de rigueur for upcoming models. However, if V2X is to reach its (quite enormous) potential, automakers, EV charging providers, utilities and other stakeholders will need to work closely together.
That’s the idea behind Inflexion, a new consortium that includes the Volkswagen Group UK, utility OVO Energy, IT firm Indra and software provider Kaluza.
Inflexion “brings together energy, mobility and technology stakeholders to develop V2X business models and rewarding customer propositions.” The consortium will develop bidirectional charging applications using CCS technology optimized by Kaluza’s software. The program will use Volkswagen Group EVs and engage with OVO Energy customers to develop V2X solutions for EV drivers.
The project will build on an existing deployment of domestic vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, powered by Kaluza’s software and Indra’s hardware. The companies say that participating EV drivers earned between £420 and £800 per year selling energy back to the grid.
“As one of the world’s fastest-growing EV markets, the UK is a prime testbed for V2X,” says Kaluza. The company calculates that, if all vehicles in the UK today were electric and V2X-enabled, they could displace 60% of the country’s current gas backup generation.
“V2X will have a transformative effect on decarbonizing our energy system, but only if we make it accessible and affordable for all,” said Kaluza CEO Scott Neuman. “Inflexion is an exciting step for the industry to engage and learn from real EV drivers and bring this game-changing technology closer to true commercial scale.”
“This is not just about driving renewable energy solutions forward, it’s about demonstrating how customers can actually reduce their energy bills by making the switch to an EV,” said OVO Energy’s Alex Thwaites.