Bidirectional charging is the technology of the hour. It enables vehicle-to-grid—or should we say, vehicle-to-anything (V2X)—applications, which promise to greatly facilitate the integration of EVs and renewable energy into the grid, to offer opportunities for fleets to offset their electrification costs, and to allow other handy capabilities, such as backup power.
Now Volkswagen has given a boost to BDC (the new acronym for bidirectional charging—you read it here first, folks), and to its own status as the first legacy automaker to go big on electrification, with the announcement that it will enable bidirectional charging for all its MEB-based electric vehicles, starting next year.
From 2022 onwards, every EV from the Volkswagen Group based on the MEB platform will be capable of returning electricity to grid, VW Development Board Member Thomas Ulbrich told the German news outlet Handelsblatt: “The test vehicles are running, we are in the last [stages] with the preparations.”
Currently, there are few passenger cars equipped with bidirectional charging capability. Nissan said in 2019 that the Leaf offered the feature in Japan, and soon would in Australia, but we’ve heard little about it since (Nissan’s US web site doesn’t mention it). Several electric school bus projects incorporate BDC, and other commercial fleet EVs are using it, at least in pilot projects. Several upcoming EVs will feature BDC—Hyundai says its new Ioniq 5 can go both ways, and Tesla has said it intends to add the capability to future vehicles.
The Volkswagen Group says it could produce as many as 300,000 BDC-enabled vehicles next year, including models from VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat-Cupra. If this comes to pass, we could see large enough numbers to make substantial impacts on local electric grids within a year or two.