Enphase, a producer of microinverters and battery storage systems, has released a first look at its bidirectional EV charging system.
While a standard EV charger can only take energy from the grid or a home’s solar panels to charge an electric vehicle battery, a bidirectional charger can do that and also use energy stored in a car battery and feed it back to the home and/or grid.
Describing it as a “game-changer”, According to Enphase, its product is anticipated to function with the majority of electric vehicles that support standards like CHAdeMO (CHArge de MOve) and CCS (Combined Charging System). In addition to charging, the Enphase bi-directional charger will support:
- Vehicle-to-home (V2H): Allows the use of an EV as a (very large) home battery system during blackouts.
- Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) – Allows an electric vehicle (EV) battery to discharge to the mains grid, enabling participation in the delivery of grid services (e.g., a The VPP stands for Virtual Power Plant. In V2G mode, energy from the EV battery can also supply the home.
- Green charging entails making the most of local solar panels to charge EVs.
“Black Start” Feature
Regarding its blackout capabilities, the Enphase device will work when the EV is already present and connected when an outage begins, but also in a scenario where the EV isn’t initially connected at the time. This is achieved through a “black start” feature – a small battery within the charger that enables initial communications to begin once connected.
Enphase mentions its bidirectional charger will “turn any EV into a power source”; but that’s not correct as The vehicle must also support functionality for V2H and V2G.
Here you can find out more information about bidirectional chargers, V2H, and V2G.
This will be an Enphase-specific system, unlike other bidirectional devices that are currently or soon will be on the market. The charger will contain IQ8 microinverters, which, as far as I’m aware, aren’t yet available in Australia (though they shouldn’t be too far away). The charger will work in with Ensemble energy management technology and integrate into Enphase home energy systems. Owners will be able to control their solar, battery storage, and EV charging from the Enphase app.
When and How Much?
When it comes to availability, Enphase says it is collaborating with regulators, EV manufacturers, and standards organizations to make the charger available early next year. The first market to get it was not specified, but given that Australia is still regarded as something of an EV backwater (at least for the time being), we might not get first pick. There’s no indication of pricing at this point, but expect it to be expensive as:
- However, as more products become available, the price of bidirectional chargers—which is currently around $AUD 10,000—should decrease.
- The Enphase kit is pricey.
Even though this may be Enphase Energy’s first branded EV charging product, the company has access to a wealth of expertise and manufacturing resources as a result of its acquisition of ClipperCreek last year. Enphase acquired ClipperCreek in part to expedite its plans for having the ability to charge devices in both directions for V2H and V2G applications.