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Ford, VW latest to explore bidirectional charging on EVs

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Ford and Volkswagen are the latest automotive giants to delve into the world of bidirectional charging for electric vehicles (EVs), a technology with the potential to yield substantial savings for EV owners on their home energy bills. This innovative approach allows EVs to charge their batteries during off-peak hours, when energy costs are at their lowest, and subsequently utilize that stored energy during peak hours when prices soar. The benefits can be further amplified when coupled with a home solar installation, ushering in a new era of energy efficiency.

Ford, a frontrunner in the EV domain, has already introduced bidirectional charging in its F-150 Lightning model since its launch. However, in a recent announcement, the company has revealed its collaboration with Resideo Technologies to pilot an energy management system that integrates the electric pickup truck’s battery with a Resideo smart thermostat designed to regulate a home’s heating and cooling system. Dana Huth, Executive Vice President at Resideo, emphasized that a home’s heating and cooling system stands as the most energy-intensive appliance, second only to a vehicle. This partnership aims not only to quantify potential cost savings but also to explore how the energy management system can alleviate pressure on the grid and prioritize cleaner energy usage when renewable sources, such as wind-generated electricity, are abundant. This initiative is scheduled to run through 2024.

Volkswagen, while slightly trailing behind in the bidirectional charging arena, has announced its plans to introduce this technology in its ID family of EVs. The initial rollout will encompass models equipped with a 77-kWh battery and ID.Software version 3.5 or higher, although none of VW’s ID EVs currently available in the U.S. feature the 77-kWh battery. Similar to Ford, Volkswagen will embark on a journey to assess an energy management system in collaboration with HagerEnergy. This system will undergo testing within an entire housing estate in Sweden.

Beyond the automotive realm, some manufacturers have taken a more proactive approach by establishing businesses dedicated to fulfilling the growing demand for energy storage and charging-related technologies and services. Pioneers such as Mercedes-Benz and Tesla laid the foundation in 2015 with their respective Mercedes-Benz Energy and Tesla Energy ventures. More recently, General Motors and Volvo have entered the fray with their GM Energy and Volvo Cars Energy Solutions enterprises, signaling a significant shift towards a more sustainable and interconnected future in the automotive industry.

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