SAN BRUNO, Calif. and MONTRÉAL – dcbel has successfully fulfilled all UL requirements for the company’s r16 Home Energy Station to become the first certified residential bidirectional direct current (DC) electric vehicle (EV) charger in the US. This universally compatible solution will allow customers to power their homes during a blackout and significantly reduce energy costs.
The unprecedented certification process, during which standards were not only assessed but also drawn, was over two years in the making. dcbel collaborated with Intertek, a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) program member, to validate the safety of the product across a wide range of conditions and scenarios, completing dozens of tests to meet UL 2231 and 9741 standards.
The certification of this patented DC technology will kickstart a new era of home energy and dramatically disrupt the residential EV charging market, challenging the cost of Level 2 AC chargers while enabling automakers to rethink current EV charging architecture.
Batteries can only be charged and discharged using DC energy. Due to the absence of DC home charging solutions, all EVs contain a costly and heavy onboard AC power converter – the equivalent of carrying a gas pump inside the car. As stipulated by the California Energy Commission, “utilities and regulators have not yet worked out how to guarantee safety and stability of the grid if an unknown vehicle connects to a portal and attempts to export power” using this same onboard AC power conversion equipment.
dcbel’s offboard power conversion solution fills this gap. It delivers ultra-stable DC energy directly to the EV battery, improving upon typical Level 2 charging speeds while avoiding the degrading effects of high-intensity Level 3 DC fast chargers. Thanks to the product’s breakthrough power electronics, dcbel r16 uses one power converter to do the work of as many as six separate home inverters, increasing round-trip efficiency by over 20 percent while significantly diminishing wall clutter compared to single function/multi-device residential bidirectional charging approaches.
“dcbel is very proud to receive this trailblazing certification,” said CEO Marc-André Forget. “It fulfills our mission to deploy a product that is both groundbreaking and affordable, while allowing homeowners to access cleaner energy and offset their electricity bills for the fastest possible return on investment. It’s also universally compatible, so drivers are free to choose any EV along their journey.”
Shipping of the first batch of Home Energy Stations will begin in territories within California and New York State. To ensure the highest product quality, dcbel will also have its manufacturing facilities certified through Intertek. Mass production of the dcbel r16 will take place in Richardson, Texas.
The residential energy landscape is undergoing rapid transformation. A record 700,000 US homeowners installed solar in 2022, and nearly one in ten cars purchased last year in the country was an EV. In California, recent legislative reform incentivized the installation of home battery storage systems for load shifting and efficient demand response, and a proposed state Senate bill would require all EVs to be capable of bidirectional charging. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order No. 2222 also has a hand in increasing the competitiveness of distributed energy resources (DERs) by enabling them to participate alongside traditional resources in regional wholesale markets through aggregations. When leveraged as DERs, bidirectional EVs could significantly improve grid reliability while deferring costly infrastructure upgrades. They can also power a home during a blackout.
As a multifunction residential energy management device, the dcbel r16 required highly specialized evaluation across three US laboratories. Along with bidirectional EV charging, dcbel’s premium product performs solar energy conversion and fully integrates with home battery storage, replacing the equivalent of over $12,000 in equipment. To synchronize power conversion securely and efficiently across all these energy assets and anticipate a home’s future energy requirements, dcbel Home Energy Stations run an all-in-one operating system called Orchestrate OS. Using proprietary apps, the system automatically plans whether to use, store or sell energy every five minutes.
The r16 Home Energy Station is the first in a suite of products dcbel plans on releasing to help homeowners reduce everyday costs. The product can be reserved online at dcbel.energy.