Vehicle-to-load (V2L) is a feature that enables an electric vehicle to provide regular AC power to appliances or loads such as lights, laptops or a refrigerator. This is a new technology where an EV contains an integrated inverter to provide AC power via one or more 240V outlets; it should not be confused with Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology which requires an advanced bidirectional charger. V2L power outlets can be used for backup power, much like a backup generator, to run multiple appliances depending on the output power rating (W) of the electric vehicle. Interestingly, EVs with V2L can even be used to charge other EVs which have run flat and become stranded.
How to use V2L in an off-grid system
To connect an electric vehicle with V2L into an off-grid system, the EV can be connected to the AC input on the inverter-charger. In this setup, the inverter-charger can be configured to use the AC power to feed the loads or top up the battery. The key is to ensure the inverter-charger is set up correctly and does not draw more than the maximum output of the EV. In the case of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 or Kia EV6, this is a maximum of 3.6kW; however, to be safe it is highly recommended to set it at roughly 80% of the maximum rating, or 3.0kW, to prevent stressing or overheating the vehicle's inverter.
In the configuration shown below, a manual AC transfer switch is shown which can be used to connect either a regular backup generator or a vehicle with V2L. Note, circuit breakers should always be used on all AC sources for circuit protection and to ensure the AC source is not overloaded.
How to use V2L for ON-grid backup
While V2L is designed to provide AC power while travelling or for emergency power at home, it can also be used much like a typical household battery system for storing excess solar energy. Many homes in rural areas which suffer from frequent blackouts already have what is known as an AC transfer switch to connect a backup generator to the household power supply. As the name implies, the transfer switch switches between two different AC sources and does not allow the separate AC sources to interact*. Once the V2L supply is operating, a vehicle can supply the household independently of the grid. Of course, the energy consumption must be monitored to ensure it does not overload the vehicle's inverter; a smart way to do this is to separate the essential load circuits from the high demand (non-essential) circuits such as heating and electric hot water
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