• Charging
  • Solar
  • Sep 30, 2022

You may have noticed a new feature called V2L, or vehicle-to-load, cropping up on recent EVs like the Kia EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and newer MGs. Volvo’s next flagship EV – the EX90 – is already shouting loudly about its future bi-directional capabilities.

As well as getting you from A to B, these EVs can help you whip up a barista-quality coffee, or charge an e-bike from your pitch. But does it end there? Could the same car get you through a power cut, or even become a regular energy store to cut your home energy costs?

What exactly is V2L?

V2L allows you to power appliances large and small, (yes, even an energy intensive thing like a washing machine) directly from your vehicle. It’s great for creature-comfort camping, things like plugging in a mower when your cable doesn’t quite reach, firing up power tools, or getting you through the odd power cut.


The V2L feature of many new EVs can directly power devices in your home, even do a load of washing in a power cut

Auxiliary power in our cars is nothing new. It’s been around for years, first with adapters that plugged into cigarette lighters and more recently with dedicated USB ports and even standard household sockets in some petrol or diesel cars. So what makes V2L in EVs different? Well, the difference is V2L means much more power.

How many devices can I power with V2L?

How many things you can power depends on what you want to plug in. Different devices have different watt requirements—a mobile phone uses only a few watts when charging, whereas boiling a kettle pulls up to 3000W.

If a power cut strikes this winter, the EV in your driveway could have 60 kWh of energy stored in its battery – that’s roughly what your house might use in 4-5 days. With the backup power through V2L, you can keep vital things running – your fridge (800W), a heater (1,500W), even a kettle (3,000W). Though bear in mind that the best V2L on new Hyundai and Kia EVs typically offers up to maximum of 3.6kW.

What’s the difference between a kilowatt (kW) and a kilowatt-hour (kWh)?

A kilowatt (kW) shows how fast an appliance is using power. The energy used is measured in kWh. A 1,000 watt appliance switched on for one hour uses one kWh.

Think of the kW as how fast the bath tap is running, and the kWh as the amount of water that’s in the bath.


Model Connector type V2G? V2H? V2L? Available in UK?
Nissan Leaf (2013+) Chademo Now
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Chademo Now
Hyundai Ioniq 5 CCS ✔ (3.6kW) Now
KIA EV6 CCS ✔ (3.6kW) Now
BYD Atto 3 CCS ✔ (3.3kW  max) Coming soon
MG 5 LR (2022) CCS ✔ (2.2kW) Now
MG ZS EV (2022) CCS ✔ (2.2kW) Now
VW ID Models CCS TBC TBC TBC Late 2022


How long can I power devices with V2L?

That depends on how big your battery is and also how full it is. With a fully charged 77kWh battery pack you could power most of the main appliances in your home for a week.

Worried about running out of juice? These cars allow you to set the limit for your battery use, so you can relax knowing you will still get home from your camping trip!

AC or DC, what’s the difference?

Batteries are DC ( Direct Current). Public rapid charging is DC and goes straight into the car’s battery. Your home charger adds in AC (Alternating Current), which has to go through an onboard converter to fill the battery.

How about regularly powering my home (V2H)?

V2L is just the most basic form of bidirectional charging. Trials are already running in the UK to check the practicality of using your car battery to power your home day-to-day with vehicle-to-home (V2H).

You may want regularly use your car battery to power your home, either to avoid the expensive peak rate on an EV tariff or to maximise what you generate with your solar panels. To do this you will need an extra bit of kit – a bidirectional EV charger.

Worcester-based manufacturer Indra has a V2H charger undergoing a real-world trial. Early results, even before the energy crisis, showed it may save £200 per month on energy bills. The savings come from storing any solar generated during the day and/or charging on cheaper rates of an EV tariff. The downside is the likely cost to buy one, which could be up to £5,000.  If you have the cash to spend, that’s an average two years to pay back.

Charger giant Wallbox was the first to bring a bidirectional model, the Quasar, to market. The Wallbox Quasar offers up to 7.4 kW of power for charging or discharging. It is currently compatible with CHAdeMO charging cable, though will no doubt add ccs cables when the market opens up. It costs £6,000.


Bidirectional chargers mean you can charge and discharge from your EV battery to your home

Canadian company dcbel also plans to bring a bidirectional charger to the UK in 2023. The dcbel r16 charger unit can charge your car with DC at 15kW – twice as fast as a standard 7kW AC EV charger. At around £6,000, it costs more than the Indra, but it also doubles as an inverter for a solar or battery installation. So, if you need an EV charger and you are also thinking about getting solar or adding a home battery, you’d only need to buy one bit of kit rather than two.

Converter or inverter, what’s the difference?

A converter changes the AC to DC. Converters are pretty cheap and abundant. They are everywhere – laptop chargers, phones chargers etc. An inverter, however, is more complicated (and expensive) as it needs to change consistent DC to the waveform AC.

Can I get started with V2H now?

Before you rush to buy a bidirectional V2H charger, note that for now only Chademo type cars are able to charge bidirectionally. The list is very short – the Nissan Leaf, Nissan eNV200 and the Mitsubishi Outlander.

VW plans to open at least some of their ID cars to bidirectional charging later in 2022 (starting with bigger 77kWh models). VW’s plan, led by now-ex-boss Herbert Diess, is dependent on the finalisation of a CCS2 plug standard to allow bidirectional charging. So the speed at which V2H happens, especially for your VW, is still far from certain.

Will I be able to use my current EV charger for V2H?

Any device connecting to the grid has to be compliant (i.e. shutdown if there is a power cut). Wallbox Quasar, Indra’s V2H model & dcbel have special inverters to change DC to your home’s AC.

Standard (AC) chargers don’t have this inverter, so can’t connect your battery to power your home while connected to the electricity grid. Will future EVs have the right inverter? That’s unlikely, because of the extra cost and country-specific red tape involved.


With the rising cost of energy and a climate crisis on everyone’s mind, many people with solar or an EV tariff are already on the lookout for a home battery. Having somewhere to store cheap, green energy makes lots of sense. Some energy-pioneering households are already thinking about their car choice as a battery on wheels. If a car is often at home during the day (with solar) or even overnight (with an EV tariff), a secondhand Nissan Leaf paired with a bidirectional charger powers a household through the evening – making them savings and reducing the household carbon footprint.

What about V2G?

Like V2H, V2G involves bidirectional power flows to and from your EV’s battery. But with V2G you are exporting power out of your car and some of it is going all the way back to the national grid. There are several trials of V2G underway already. With a smart tariff, like Octopus Agile Outgoing, you can already be paid to export spare kWhs at peak times. In the future the market for this is likely to grow, especially for large fleets who often clock off en masse at the end of the business day, just as the UK hits peak energy demand.

Renewable energy experts love the idea of using your EV as a battery store. It means we can have more intermittent power from renewable source (wind, solar, tidal) on the electricity network without worrying about ‘balancing’ supply and demand day to day. Your EV battery is a small part in a large de-centralised battery system.

The future of bidirectional charging

As well as adding convenience and protection against power cuts, charging an EV from solar or off-peak energy tariffs then discharging it during periods of peak demand reduces the need to switch on fossil-fuel power stations. Whether it’s V2L, V2H or V2G, our cars are poised to make us substantial savings and avoid the need to burn more fossil fuels.

Car makers, charger manufacturers, energy companies and households will all have a part to play in how quickly things change. But with a bit of luck, in the next few years, you won’t look at your wheels in quite the same way.

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