Bidirectional Charging - A Complete Guide — Lectron EV Skip to content
Bidirectional Charging - A Complete Guide

Bidirectional Charging - A Complete Guide

Electric vehicle (EV) charging technology has grown significantly in the past few years. From smart EV chargers that can personalize charging sessions to rapid chargers that can fill up a vehicle's battery within minutes, these developments not only cater to the rising demand for efficient and convenient charging solutions but also play a crucial role in promoting e-mobility.

EV charging is largely a one-way affair—the charger draws power from the grid and then feeds it to the EV battery. However, most recent developments have now allowed EVs to give energy to various recipients—think of your car as batteries on wheels. This is called bidirectional charging, wherein you pull power from the grid to charge your car battery and supply power for other loads from the battery as needed.

What is Bidirectional Charging?

Bidirectional charging, often referred to as two-way charging, is a technology that allows electric vehicles to not only consume electricity from the grid but also feed energy back into it. In traditional charging systems, electricity flows unidirectionally from the grid to the vehicle. In bidirectional charging, this flow can be reversed, enabling electric vehicles to act as energy storage devices and power sources.

How Does Bidirectional Charging Work?

With a traditional electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE, or more commonly, EV charger) the electricity grid provides alternating current (AC), which is subsequently transformed into direct current (DC) before being delivered to the EV battery. This conversion is facilitated by either the on-board charger or a converter integrated into the charging system.

The DC power stored in the vehicle's batteries then undergoes a reverse conversion, transforming it back into AC electricity. This electricity can then be utilized to power household appliances or returned to the power grid, demonstrating the bidirectional charging capability of the system.

A bidirectional EV charger typically incorporates an internal converter, allowing it to independently manage the electrical conversion process. Moreover, these chargers can regulate the amount of power supplied to or drawn from the EV's batteries, offering a sophisticated level of control over the charging process. This bidirectional functionality not only enhances the versatility of EV charging but also contributes to the overall efficiency of energy usage.

Types of Bidirectional Charging

Bidirectional charging allows your EV to send energy to various recipients. The most common applications include returning energy to the grid or using it to power your home, office, gadgets, or another vehicle.

Vehicle to Grid (V2G)

Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) is a pioneering form of bidirectional charging where electric vehicles become active contributors to the electricity grid. During peak electricity demand periods, EVs connected to the V2G system supply power back to the electric grid, serving as distributed energy resources. This not only reduces strain on the grid but also enhances overall grid stability.

Vehicle to Home (V2H)

Vehicle to Home or V2H is when bidirectional EV chargers provide backup power to a house, or possibly, other buildings from an EV's battery. In the event of a power outage, bidirectional chargers transfer the energy stored in the EV's battery directly to the home, ensuring an uninterrupted power supply to essential appliances and systems. A built-in power converter converts the energy stored in the EV batteries from DC to AC to power an entire home or building.

Vehicle to Load (V2L)

Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) enables electric vehicles to extend their utility beyond transportation. In scenarios such as camping or emergency situations, where external devices or loads require power, V2L allows EVs to function as mobile power sources. This flexibility enhances the practicality and resilience of electric mobility.

Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V)

Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) bidirectional charging allows an exchange between electric vehicles. In situations where one EV has excess energy while another requires a charge, V2V technology allows direct energy transfer between the vehicles, much like how gas-powered cars can jump-start another car with a dead battery. This peer-to-peer sharing enhances efficiency and optimizes resource utilization within the EV fleet.

EVs with bidirectional charging

Electric vehicles equipped with bidirectional charging capabilities represent a significant advancement in the integration of electric mobility with the broader energy infrastructure. These vehicles are not only consumers of electricity but also contributors to grid stability, offering a range of applications from providing backup power to actively participating in demand response programs. Here are some notable examples of EVs with bidirectional charging capability:

  • BYD Atto 3 - The BYD Atto 3 comes with a V2L adapter that plugs into a Type 2 AC port, providing up to 2.2 kW to power appliances.

  • Ford F-150 Lightning - The Ford F-150 Lightning can serve as a backup power source in your home with the use of the 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro.

  • Hyundai IONIQ 5/6 - The Hyundai IONIQ 5/6 uses an external V2L adapter to use the stored energy in your EV to power camping equipment and some domestic appliances.

  • KIA EV6 - The V2L feature on the KIA EV6 can be accessed in two ways: via a V2L adapter plugged into its charge port or through the power outlet inside the vehicle.

  • Nissan Leaf ZE1 - The Nissan Leaf uses the FE-15 charger by Fermata Energy for bidirectional charging, which plugs into a quick-charging CHAdeMO port.

What are the benefits of bidirectional charging?

Bidirectional charging brings forth several benefits that extend beyond traditional unidirectional charging systems. The versatility and dynamic capabilities of bidirectional charging contribute to a more resilient, efficient, and sustainable energy ecosystem. Here are some key benefits:

Grid Stability Enhancement

Bidirectional charging enables electric vehicles to not only receive power from the grid, but also return excess energy to it. This capability, particularly in Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) systems, acts as a distributed energy resource, enhancing grid stability during peak demand periods. EVs become active contributors, mitigating strain on the grid and supporting a more reliable energy infrastructure.

Backup Power Source

In Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) scenarios, bidirectional EV charging transforms electric vehicles into reliable backup power sources for residences. During power outages or emergencies, EVs with bidirectional capabilities can supply energy stored in their batteries to power essential appliances and maintain critical functions in homes.

Environmental Impact Reduction

The integration of bidirectional charging aligns with the broader goal of reducing environmental impact. By actively participating in grid support and stabilization, EVs contribute to a more sustainable energy ecosystem, promoting the use of cleaner energy sources and reducing reliance on conventional power generation methods.

Versatility in Energy Applications

Bidirectional charging opens up new possibilities for electric vehicles to serve various energy-related applications. EVs can act as mobile power sources for external devices, tools, or even other electric vehicles, showcasing the versatility of bidirectional charging technology.

What's the difference between bidirectional charging and smart charging?

While bidirectional charging and smart charging both involve advanced technologies for managing electric vehicle charging, they serve distinct purposes. Smart charging primarily revolves around the strategic optimization of the timing and rate of electric vehicle charging. The core focus is on enhancing energy efficiency, minimizing energy costs, and intelligently managing the utilization of energy resources. Through the integration of sophisticated algorithms and communication technologies, smart charging systems analyze factors such as energy demand patterns, electricity rates, and grid conditions in real time.

In contrast, bidirectional charging takes EVs beyond the conventional role of energy consumers by introducing a two-way flow of electricity. Unlike unidirectional charging, where power flows only from the grid to the vehicle, bidirectional charging enables EV owners to act as active participants in the energy grid.


  • What is bidirectional charging?

    Bidirectional charging is a technology that enables electric vehicles to not only draw power from the grid but also supply energy back to it, transforming EVs into dynamic contributors to the electrical grid.

  • What vehicles support bidirectional charging?

    Some EV models equipped with bidirectional charging capabilities include BYD Atto 3, Ford F-150 Lightning, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Nissan Leaf ZE1.

  • Is bidirectional charging becoming more accessible?

    Yes, bidirectional charging is gaining traction as an emerging technology, with more EV manufacturers incorporating this capability into their vehicles.

  • How does EV bidirectional charging work?

    EV bidirectional charging involves a bidirectional charger that allows the electric vehicle to draw power from the grid or supply energy back to it, enhancing grid stability and providing backup power options.

  • Which EV supports V2G?

    Electric vehicles such as the Ford F-150 Lightning and Nissan LEAF are known to support Vehicle-to-Grid technology.

  • How much does a bidirectional charger cost?

    The cost of bidirectional chargers can vary, but it generally depends on factors such as the charger's capacity, brand, and features. As of writing, there are only three commercially available universal bidirectional home chargers in the market: the Wallbox Quasar, Highbury, and Fermata FE-15. Upcoming releases include the Enphase Bidirectional EV Charger, Autel MaxiCharger V2X, and the SolarEdge bidirectional EV charger.

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