The concept is simple, but the implications are game-changing. Here’s how your next car will power your home.
Electricity transforms the car
How many electrical devices do you rely on daily? Ever wondered what life would be like if they were powered by gas? Nissan wondered the same thing in this humorous commercial.
Electricity is especially fundamental in the home, a space where fossil fuels are almost nowhere to be found. In fact, with the “electrify everything” movement gaining steam, even gas-burning furnaces, water heaters and cooking ranges are slowly being phased out in favor of electric versions that draw power from cleaner grids.
Then there are electric vehicles (EVs). By harnessing the power of electricity, cars can suddenly enter that rich, vast electric ecosystem that powers most of the stuff in our lives. EVs will become an extension of the home and play a huge role in the distribution of energy.
Plugging your EV into the smart charger in your garage connects it to your home, and by extension the energy grid at large. This opens the door to an exciting range of possibilities in the realm of smart energy.
And it’s all thanks to the high-capacity batteries at the heart of each EV.
Powerful even at a standstill
When discussing energy, the kilowatt-hour (kWh) is king because it allows for direct comparisons to be made in terms of cost and output across devices. We’ve covered this in a previous blog post, but the main takeaway is that once you consider personal energy through the lens of kilowatt-hours, you’ll be better equipped to produce and consume it yourself, on your terms.
For instance, the energy stored by EV batteries is measured in kilowatt-hours. These batteries have been increasing in size over the years (that is, they can store more kWh of electricity). This leads to increased driving range as well as more flexibility to power external loads — even one as big as your entire home.
Consider that one hour of vacuuming requires the same amount of energy as 20 minutes of baking brownies in the oven: one kilowatt-hour. Whether you source that one kilowatt-hour from solar, the grid or your EV is a decision you will have complete control over.
How much power could be sitting in your driveway?
The lead-acid battery in an internal combustion engine vehicle is small and low-voltage, designed to provide power in quick bursts that get the motor running. Meanwhile, EVs are equipped with high-voltage, deep cycle batteries that are meant to slowly discharge over long periods of time, making them ideal providers of home backup power when there’s a blackout, as well as cost-conscious electricity for all the hours they spend parked in the driveway.
The average American home uses just under 30 kWh of power every day. If you own a Mustang Mach-E with a fully-charged 68-kWh battery, you will be able to proceed with normal life for over 50 uninterrupted hours during a blackout.
Imagine the implications of the beastly Hummer EV and its bar-raising 200 kWh battery! The truck would be able to power your home for six and a half days.
Generators fail to deliver clean, smart energy
As EV battery capacity increases, gas-powered generators lose their appeal. Engines are at the heart of those products, and just like gas-powered cars, generators require regular servicing and maintenance: think oil changes and test runs.
Portable generators can often be loud and malodorous, with small fuel tanks that may only provide around 10 hours of continuous use. Standby models can cost thousands of dollars, and lower-end models may back up essential circuits and appliances only. If they run on natural gas or diesel, greenhouse gas emissions pose a concern, as well as carbon monoxide poisoning.
Vehicle-to-home technology is on the way
Soon, vehicle-to-home (V2H) capabilities will reach the majority of American doorsteps. EV batteries are a valuable piece of the smart home energy puzzle, unmatched by gas-powered generators and cars in their ability to store and disseminate clean, low-cost energy that you can use anywhere, rain or shine.
Learn more about the fascinating notion of bidirectional power in relation to EV battery capacity.