VW Wants to Power Your Home—with Your Battery-Electric Car

Jackson Wheeler
6 Min Read

  • VW activates bidirectional charging feature in some of its electric models, with 77-kWh vehicles with Software 3.5 currently supporting this ability in Europe.
  • The V2H charging tech, when used in conjunction with a specially wired home energy system, allows the VW vehicles to store and provide two days’ worth of electricity when needed.
  • Despite the rollout, home energy systems that could take advantage of V2H charging are still far from common at the moment, and may not become a mainstream component of EV ownership for quite some time.

Volkswagen has been enthusiastic about the concept of bidirectional charging for a while, but like a lot of things with the VW Group and electric vehicles, it has taken some time to actually arrive.

The automaker has finally flipped on this feature in its cars via an over-the-air update, promising the ability to store energy when charging during off-peak hours, and then using it when it’s advantageous to do so without relying on the grid. Bidirectional charging also brings with it the promise of storing solar energy generated by the home, and using it as needed.

“The vehicle is activated by the home power station when the home storage system requires additional energy,” the automaker explains. “As soon as the home storage system is recharged, the vehicle stops transferring energy and goes into standby mode.”

VW indicates that given a 30-kWh average power consumption by a home, the vehicle-to-home (V2H) function in a 77-kWh vehicle can provide two full days of electricity for the home.

But there are quite a few asterisks when it comes to this technology.

First, bidirectional charging is offered in all new models equipped with the 77-kWh (82-kWh gross) battery, and it won’t dip below 20% state of charge so as not to strand you or deplete the battery unnecessarily.

VW’s European competitors are also working on home energy solutions.

Second, the vehicles will also need Software 3.5 or higher installed. Third, it certainly helps if your house is already wired for this sort of thing, as this is not a plug-and-play feature you can set up on a whim. Fourth, this functionality is only being rolled out in Europe at the moment, and not in North America.

Finally, you also have to be on board on some level with using your EV battery in this manner, prioritizing home energy efficiency over vehicle range while also subjecting your battery to more frequent charge/discharge cycles.

Ideally, this sort of functionality would work well as part of a solar home energy storage system, at which point one could generate energy from the sun and store it in a car’s battery for usage at optimal times.

“Thanks to the high storage capacity, a house can also be supplied with solar power over several cloudy days or in the evening when the sun has set and the photovoltaic system is no longer supplying electricity,” VW explains. “This means that customers can decide for themselves when they want to draw energy from the public grid or use the self-generated electricity stored in the vehicle battery.”

In fact, VW has partnered with HagerEnergy GmbH in a pilot project, offering its customers an integrated Home Energy Management System (HEMS). But only in Europe for now.

VW isn’t the only automaker now entering this field—its European competitors are also working on home energy solutions.

We’re still in the early days of V2H charging, and also in the early days of such a system being affordable and logical for most EV owners.

Most of the logical EV owners we’ve talked to are still more interested in getting power into their EV rather than out of it, and are pining for the days when automakers could offer more electrical hardware right off the shelf.

We’re not quite there yet, but in another decade the picture should change.

If you own a battery-electric car, have you considered bidirectional charging for your home? Please comment below.

Headshot of Jay Ramey

Jay Ramey grew up around very strange European cars, and instead of seeking out something reliable and comfortable for his own personal use he has been drawn to the more adventurous side of the dependability spectrum. Despite being followed around by French cars for the past decade, he has somehow been able to avoid Citroën ownership, judging them too commonplace, and is currently looking at cars from the former Czechoslovakia. Jay has been with Autoweek since 2013. 

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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