Electric cars could become charging stations too

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Electric vehicles will soon have “bidirectional” or two-way batteries that can turn cars into useful sources of electricity for your home, workplace or even another car.

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Why this matters: One of the biggest barriers to EV adoption is the lack of charging infrastructure.

  • But if you think of your car as a source of energy — not just its consumer — then the whole calculus begins to change, says Reilly Brennan, a transportation investor. Truck Venture Capital,

Running news: Ford Motor recently announced that the electric and hybrid versions of its popular F-150 pickup truck have an innovative feature that lets owners “share miles” with other EVs by transferring power from one car’s battery to another. “Allows to do.

  • An F-150 Lightning can add an average range of 20 mph to a charging hour, for example, in a Mustang Mach-E SUV, or 13 mph to another F-150 Lightning charge.
  • Volkswagen’s ID.4 electric crossover has bidirectional capability in Europe, but not yet, in the US
  • Bidirectional feature may one day be common on all EVs.

Two-way battery can address Take away the worry and help people think differently about destination charging, Brennan writes in a new blog post,

  • “We will move from planned, big sips of ‘fuel’ to ubiquitous power-dip freedom if we need it,” he writes.
  • “An individual car may remain a concern, but the nearest charging station may be your neighbor’s truck.”

By numbers: There are three times as many gas stations as there are charging stations in the US.

  • But if each of the estimated 1 million EVs on American roads had a two-way battery, they would represent a charging network seven times larger than today’s gas stations, Brennan says.
  • Ford plans to produce 150,000 F-150 Lightning trucks a year — those trucks alone will make up more “distributed power stations” than all gas stations in America, he says.
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yes but: There’s still some engineering work to redesign the battery pack and software to make sure power can flow in both directions.

  • And researchers say two-way batteries wear out faster.

Bottom-line: Electric vehicles not only consume energy. They can also supply power to your home during an outage or help utilities manage power demand during peak use.

  • Plus, your neighbor may be grateful for borrowing a few extra miles.

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