Most BEV Consumers Unaware of Vehicle-to-Home, Vehicle-to-Grid Capabilities

Person charging electric vehicle at their home

(Credit: Unsplash)

by | Feb 22, 2024

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Recent research has found that most vehicle shoppers are unaware of battery electric vehicles’ ability to be used as a backup power source or to sell power to the grid, yet many express interest in the technologies once informed of their potential benefits.

According to Escalent’s EVForward Deep Dive survey of more than 1,300 EV owners and potential buyers, 42% of consumers surveyed claimed they had never even heard of vehicle-to-home energy systems, while 52% had no knowledge of vehicle-to-grid programs.

Vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities have become an increasingly common selling point for battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

Both technologies include bidirectional charging abilities, meaning that vehicles may receive electricity, store it, and return it to either a building or to the grid. BEV owners may also profit from selling energy stored within their BEV to the grid through utility-led programs. Multiple car companies now offer these bidirectional charging features in their BEV models — for example, GM recently committed to making all of their EV batteries bidirectional by 2026.

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Vehicle shoppers surveyed reported mixed responses to the technologies once V2H and V2G were explained.

Some were enthusiastic about using a BEV as backup power during an outage, with 34% claiming that V2H capacity would make them more likely to consider purchasing a BEV. However, many were also concerned about the cost of the system needed to support V2H and thought this technology may wear down their battery and make the car undriveable.

In terms of V2G technologies, the majority of respondents said they would likely enroll in utility-led programs that offer discounted energy prices for returning energy to the grid during peak demand. These programs overall lower the cost of owning a BEV, a commonly-cited concern of potential buyers, by reducing electricity costs.

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Escalent claims these results demonstrate the need to emphasize BEV battery longevity and how using vehicles for V2H and V2G capabilities does not compromise their vehicle’s performance.

“There are substantial benefits to using vehicle batteries to support the grid and much of the technical groundwork is already in place,” said K.C. Boyce, a vice president of automotive and mobility and energy practices at Escalent. “However, at present, few vehicle buyers are even aware the technology is available, and using the battery in grid support applications feeds into the concern many prospective BEV buyers have about battery life and replacement cost. If utility companies and automakers want to realize the technical potential of V2X, they’ll need to create compelling value propositions to get consumers on board.”

The analysis also found potential for original equipment manufacturers to benefit from promoting the installation of technologies like solar panels and home battery backup to support BEV integration. Escalent said automakers should also work to build awareness of their home energy offerings and how they may benefit potential BEV buyers.

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