One of the things we find reassuring about electric cars — besides the fact that they produce fewer emissions and don’t hurt our planet nearly as much — is the idea that we could charge one from our very own homes instead of having to drive to a gas station.
What if it worked the other way around as well?
While cities are working on methods to ensure energy security, such as diversifying with microgrids and sustainable energy sources, power outages are becoming more likely as the climate changes. More backup sources of energy will be required to ensure power for the average home.
General Motors and Pacific Gas & Electric are working to turn electric vehicles into emergency power sources for homes. This process is called bidirectional charging, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: the ability to pull power directly from a source and also power other things.
“Not only is this a huge advancement for electric reliability and climate resiliency, it’s yet another advantage of clean-powered EVs, which are so important in our collective battle against climate change,” said Patti Poppe, CEO of Pacific Gas & Electric.
If hooked up in a certain way, electric vehicles would be able to automatically power a home if the lights go out, much like the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning. It would operate like an emergency generator, and estimates state that if rationed properly a truck could power an average home for up to three days. Partners of this newest initiative of electric vehicles plan to give customers a chance to charge their own homes once lab testing is complete.
Bidirectional charging has the potential to become a valuable and versatile part of the electrical grid and a useful component to renewable energy. It certainly offers each driver of a compatible electric vehicle a little more security through energy independence.