Volvo EX90 EV SUV’s Bidirectional EV Charger
An Explanation of the New Volvo EX90 EV SUV’s Bidirectional Electric Vehicle Charger
The 2024 Volvo EX90 needs to have one because all the hip, environmentally conscious people already have one. This year’s must-have environmentally friendly device is a two-way electric vehicle (EV) charger. Big-battery electric vehicles have come under heavy fire for a number of reasons, including the ethical and environmental impacts of mining their materials and the amount of CO2 that is expended in the production of batteries.
There are also concerns that these vehicles will overload an aging and overtaxed power grid that may still rely a bit too heavily on coal. Allowing your large-battery electric vehicle (EV) to share its energy back to the grid is one surefire method to reframe the narrative.
This allows the Volvo EX90 to take in clean power when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, and then give it back when demand is at its highest point. In that case, it has the potential to rescue not just the struggling power grid but also your family in the event that the electricity goes out. Remember how all those Ford F-150 PowerBoost hybrids made headlines last year when there was a power outage in Texas during the winter?
What exactly is meant by the term “Bidirectional EV Charger”?
Simply put, it’s the capacity of the electric vehicle’s battery to allow power to flow in the opposite direction, away from the charge port and into a bi-directional charger that has been specifically developed for that purpose. The hardware and software of the vehicle must be able to support power export. This is in contrast to power import, in which the vehicle simply charges itself.
To this day, the majority of bi-directional charging has required a DC connection, which was provided on many CHAdeMO connectors. The Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV were the first vehicles to offer this function. When transferring electricity, the Ford F-150 Lightning makes use of the lower two DC fast-charging pins that are located on its CCS socket.
Outside of the vehicle, the wall-box requires supplementary hardware to convert DC vehicle power into household alternating current. And the entire process is dependent on communication, which is often carried out through the cloud in order to allow the transfer of electricity from the vehicle to the charger.
Here are four different ways that power can be exported:
V2L stands for “vehicle to load.” This one is a piece of cake. In the future, Volvo plans to offer an adapter that can be plugged into the charging port of the Volvo EX90. This converter will simply include an AC power outlet that is calibrated to the voltage and configuration of the market. This adapter will indicate via the CCS connector that AC power is being utilized, while also defining a current-draw limit (which Volvo has yet to disclose). Both Hyundai and Kia already provide a V2L plug for their electric crossover vehicles, the EV6 and the Ioniq 5, respectively.
V2V: Volvo-to-Volvo. The Volvo EX90 will come standard with an accessory cord that features CCS plugs on both ends. This will enable owners of the Volvo EX90 to buddy-charge other Volvo vehicles (without using the DC plugs). The communications link established by the cable initially restricts the potential to charge exclusively to other Volvo vehicles; however, this restriction may be lifted in the future.
V2H stands for “vehicle to home.”
A grid isolator must be included in the installation of any bi-directional Volvo EX90 (EV) charger (or residential solar system, or hard-wired backup generator), in order to protect the safety of employees who are fixing a power line. Then, with a smart-charging app (a prerequisite for bi-directional charging), owners can direct their electric vehicle (EV) to charge when grid pricing is lowest or green energy production is highest. Then, when demand or power-pricing is highest, owners can ask the car to power the home instead of the grid.
V2G stands for “vehicle to grid.” In order to make arrangements for an electric vehicle (EV) to share its power with the grid, another layer of buy-in is required from the local utility. The utility can then take control of that grid isolator and allow your power meter to “spin backwards,” presumably paying you something for the privilege of doing so.
How Does the Volvo Bidirectional Electric Vehicle Charger Stack Up?
Good question! At this point, Volvo is not disclosing many specifics, and the company has not even confirmed that this feature would be available in North America at the time of the launch of the 2024 Volvo EX90, which is expected to be in the second half of 2023. We are unable to identify the wallbox supplier, determine whether the company has formed partnerships with any power companies, or even determine the peak power export rate for any of the four charging situations described above.
We are aware that the company intends to be competitive, and that it intends for its bidirectional charging systems to be compatible with (or in some way connectable to) systems that are currently available on the market that are analogous to those systems, and which may also include battery backup storage systems.
How much will it cost to charge in both directions?
The Volvo EX90 will ship with a built-in capability for bidirectional charging as a standard feature, and we have it on good authority that the wall box will have an affordable price. The 80-amp Charge Station Pro unit for the F-150 Lightning costs $1,310 from Ford, which is approximately three times the cost of a standard one-way charger. Obviously, this does not include the cost of installation, which could be more expensive as well if there is not already a grid isolator present on the property.