The EV Powered Interview

Bi-Directional Charging – Part of the Toolbox for the Energy Crisis?

The current UK power crisis is a complicated mix of several different factors; high gas prices, a structural shift away from ageing fossil fuels to wind dominated renewable energy, and declining French nuclear and EU hydro capacity.

Currently electricity forms 20% of all the UK’s energy requirements rising to 78% by 2050. These factors, combined with an economy that is transitioning from the industrial era to the electric era, has resulted in an energy crisis this winter in the UK.

Daniel Utges, Head of Product, Energy, Wallbox, explains that the UK Government has unveiled a raft of proposals to tackle the energy crisis including a focus on domestic energy generation in the future.

What has not been discussed is the role of batteries to tackle energy security. This is not just stationary battery assets, including utility scale battery storage systems, but also more flexible and versatile assets such as electric car batteries.

At Wallbox we believe that bi-directional, at home chargers, complemented by sophisticated software that enables customers to be in direct control of their energy consumption, are part of the solution to the energy crisis. Bi-directional chargers will enable EV drivers to be in control of all their power usage, charging their car when energy is cheaper, during off-peak times and powering their house at times of peak energy prices.

Furthermore, bi-directional, at home charging can save consumers money now. Currently up to 80% of EV charging already happens at home. This is because at home you are in control. You manage your charger, you can control the energy management system, saving you money at a time when energy prices have never been higher.

Consumers that already have solar PV installed at their homes are able to charge their cars with solar energy. In the near future, Wallbox technology will allow users to charge their car for free with solar, and later discharge this energy back to their home when energy prices are higher. This delivers immediate and long term cost savings for the consumer.

The car is essentially a battery with wheels. Our vision begins to look more real when we see hundreds of thousands of EV chargers around the world being able to charge and discharge, using our technology, at any point at any time.

If we build on this theme, the average household battery pack is about 7-10kWh of energy capacity. This is typically installed alongside solar PV.

A battery in an electric vehicle ranges from 50 to 80kWh. With sophisticated hardware and software technology, such as Wallbox’s, you can utilise the battery that you have already purchased in your car to power your house.

Bi-directional charging is one of the tools that the UK could employ to immediately tackle the energy crisis. It isn’t going to be the only solution, but it is part of a suite of tools that could be used. Looking beyond the immediate crunch this winter, bi-directional will play an even greater role in sustainable energy grids in the UK and globally. Battery assets are expensive to produce, particularly at utility scale. Car batteries, which are Government mandated to be in new vehicles from 2030, are smaller, easier to make, and capable of unloading power into people’s homes rapidly.

The technology is there, the consumer demand is there, and the legislation must follow. At Wallbox we have a charger to meet the needs of every household and we are excited about the future. The UK is a leading market and what we can all achieve collectively here will be copied the world over as the EV revolution continues at pace.

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