April 18, 2023

How Bidirectional Charging Can Revolutionize Your Company's Electric Fleet


7 Min. Read

As the world looks for ways to reduce its carbon footprint and transition towards cleaner energy, bidirectional charging has emerged as a promising technology that could revolutionize the way we produce and consume energy.

This technology allows electric vehicles (EVs) to not only charge from the grid but also send electricity back to it or buildings, making them mobile energy sources. Bidirectional charging allows your electric vehicle (EV) fleet to work for your company day and night. Fleet cars equipped with bidirectional batteries can save your company money on utility bills, provide a power source in case of rolling blackouts, and even power a small office building.

This article explores the different types of bidirectional charging and the advantages it offers for companies with electric fleets, such as reducing energy costs, providing a source of backup power, and even generating additional revenue.

Discover whether bidirectional charging is right for your company’s electric fleet and learn how you can embrace the energy transition with EVs and a better way of EV charging.

What is Bidirectional Charging?

Bidirectional charging is a type of energy storage that allows electric vehicles (EVs) to both charge and discharge electricity. Electricity travels from the grid to power an electric car or truck, or the EV can send electricity back to the utility grid or a building.

With this technology, EVs become mobile energy sources, which can be helpful in emergencies when the power goes out.

Types of Bidirectional Charging

There are three main types of bidirectional charging: Vehicle to Grid (V2G), Vehicle to Home (V2H), and Vehicle to Load (V2L). Each charging type has advantages, and understanding how each works can help you decide which is best for your company.

Vehicle to Grid (V2G)

Vehicle to Grid (V2G) technology allows EV fleets to provide power back to the grid, especially during peak times when demands for electricity are high. To incentivize companies with electric fleets to switch to V2G charging, many utilities offer programs that pay fleet owners for energy their EVs send back to the grid.

With an estimated 26 million EVs in the United States by 2030, V2G bidirectional charging could revolutionize the way energy is produced and consumed on a large scale. It can be helpful for balancing the grid, reducing peak demand, and providing backup power during an emergency. In addition, the owners of fleets can make money by selling excess energy when demand is high and buying cheaper energy off-peak.

Vehicle to Home (V2H)

If an electric vehicle has V2H technology, it can deliver electricity back into a building where it’s parked, such as an office. Armed with V2H technology, an EV can become a practical energy storage system that supplies electricity to homes during power outages or times of higher energy needs. This provides dependable and reliable emergency backup power.

Vehicle to Load (V2L)

V2L allows EVs to feed electricity to other loads, such as lighting or appliances, or provides electricity to a second EV. This technology is helpful for fleet owners, as it allows them to use their EVs as mobile power sources for smaller devices or other vehicles.

Why Would You Want a Fleet of Bidirectional EVs?

Bidirectional charging offers a host of advantages for your company’s electric fleet, including:

Balance the Load on the Utility Grid

Utility grids can become overloaded when energy demand exceeds the grid’s capacity. This can lead to power outages, rolling blackouts, and system instability. The frequency of weather-related power interruptions has grown in recent years. Having a fleet of EVs that can supply electricity to the grid can help stabilize the electricity supply and prevent blackouts.

Using bidirectional EVs, the energy stored in their batteries can transfer back to the grid during high-demand periods. This helps balance the load on the grid, preventing an overload in the system and reducing the risk of blackouts.

Provide a Source of Backup Power

Losing power can be a major headache for businesses, especially with rolling blackouts or other emergencies. Bidirectional charging provides a backup source of energy when disaster strikes.

In case of power outages, EVs equipped with bidirectional capabilities and a battery backup can act as a power source for small office buildings or other structures. This can help keep your business running during a blackout and reduce downtime.

Reduce Your Company’s Energy Costs

The cost of utilities can be unpredictable and often increases during high-demand periods. Using bidirectional charging technology, your company can save money on its energy bill.

You could use bidirectional charging stations to charge your vehicles during off-peak hours and then discharge the battery into the electric grid during peak hours. This could help your company reduce energy costs and increase its bottom line.

Gain Energy Independence

By using bidirectional charging, your company can leverage its electric fleet to meet its energy needs during times of need and reduce energy dependence. Bidirectional EVs can create self-sustaining energy ecosystems by integrating them into microgrid or nanogrid systems. This allows businesses to generate, store, and use renewable energy, reducing their dependence on the grid.

By weaving together bidirectional charging, battery backup, and solar panel systems, even small buildings can be self-reliant on energy consumption.

Generate Additional Revenue

Help your business reduce energy costs and increase its bottom line with bidirectional charging. You can generate revenue as an EV fleet owner by selling excess energy back to the grid during peak demand times.

You can generate extra income from your electric fleet by allowing your EVs to feed electricity back into the grid. This can help offset the costs of EV ownership and maintenance.

Reduce Your Company’s Carbon Footprint

Bidirectional charging can also help your company reduce its environmental impact. The move towards electric vehicles is key to reducing global emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. Bidirectional charging helps reduce CO2 emissions from your electric fleet, helping you reduce your company’s overall carbon footprint.

Bidirectional charging also encourages the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind. Using a renewable source to power your fleet can reduce your company’s dependence on fossil fuels and contribute to a cleaner environment.

What are the Challenges of Bidirectional Charging?

Although bidirectional charging offers significant benefits, several challenges need to be addressed for the technology to become more widely adopted. If the electric vehicle industry overcomes these problems, it could experience a significant shift toward bidirectional charging technology.

Here are some of the key challenges:

Battery Life

Bidirectional charging can affect the life of an EV’s battery because of the number of charging and discharging cycles it undergoes. This can lead to a reduction in battery capacity and overall lifespan.

Charger Availability

Bidirectional chargers are not yet readily available, meaning not every electric vehicle comes with a bidirectional charger. This limits the ability of EV fleets to take advantage of bidirectional charging.

Utility Compatibility

Depending on the electric supplier, bidirectional chargers may not be compatible with the existing grid infrastructure. The existing electric grid infrastructure may not handle the additional load that bidirectional charging would introduce during peak demand periods.

Is Bidirectional Charging Right for You?

Bidirectional charging technology has the potential to revolutionize the way fleet owners use and manage electric vehicles. By allowing EVs to charge from and discharge into the grid, you can benefit from increased energy independence, backup power sources, self-sustainability, revenue generation opportunities, and environmental benefits.

Bidirectional charging might be the answer if you want your electric fleet to work for you 24/7. You can provide backup power, balance the load on the grid, reduce your energy costs, and even create a self-sustaining energy ecosystem. Bidirectional charging is a great way to make your electric fleet work for your company day and night.

Consider Bidirectional Chargers for Your Fleet

If you are planning to switch to an electric fleet, bidirectional charging could be an option worth considering. However, before making any decisions, it is crucial to evaluate all the factors involved. To ensure you make an informed decision, partnering with a reputable and experienced company like Qmerit can help.

Qmerit offers dependable installation solutions for a wide range of stakeholders in the EV ecosystem, including fleet managers, automakers, EV charger manufacturers, and homeowners. By leveraging Qmerit’s expertise, you can simplify the transition to EV and make the most suitable, seamless choice for your fleet.

Contact Qmerit today to learn more about how we can assist you in finding a qualified and trustworthy electrician for your EV charging project.

Author: Ken Sapp

Ken Sapp

Senior Vice President, Business Development and eMobility