EVs Could Start Charging Each Other

Ford announced its electric and hybrid F-150 will come with bidirectional charging.

January 14, 2022

Vehicle to Vehicle Charging

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Electric vehicles (EVs) will soon have “bidirectional” or two-way batteries where EVs can “borrow” miles from each other, reports Axios.

Ford recently announced that its electric and hybrid versions of its F-150 pickup truck will include a feature that allows its vehicles to transfer power from one car's battery to another. Axios says the bidirectional feature could one day be common on all EVs.

“If you think of your car as a source of energy—not just a consumer of it—that whole calculus begins to change,” Reilly Brennan, a transportation investor at Trucks Venture Capital, told Axios.

“If every one of the estimated 1,000,000 EVs on US roads today were bidirectional, it would represent a charging network seven times larger than our nation's filling stations,” Brennan writes in a blog post. “Just as car design will evolve with EVs, once we move away from fuel destinations and from cars as mere consumers of energy, we begin to rewire the ecosystem.”

Axios reports that there is still more work to be done on the battery packs and software to make sure power can flow in both directions, and researchers say two-way batteries wear down faster.

In October, five Midwest states joined together to create REV Midwest—the Regional Electric Vehicle Midwest Coalition, which “creates a regional framework to accelerate vehicle electrification in the Midwest.” The partnership will make EV chargers more accessible, boosting EV adoption by easing driver concerns over empty batteries.

EV sales are gaining some ground. Sales rose 88% year-over-year in 2021, but they still only account for about 3.2% of the total U.S. car market, according to research firm Motor Intelligence.

Although EV sales may be rising, consumers are still leery over the U.S.’s premature charging infrastructure, as it continues to be a roadblock in EV adoption in the United States. Shortly after election, President Biden unveiled an electric car plan that said half of all new cars sold in the United States will be electric by 2030. But in order for that plan to become a reality, energy and auto experts say the U.S. needs at least five to 10 times its current amount of EV chargers to bring the plan to fruition.

Last year, the Biden Administration released details of its plan to build out an electric vehicle charging infrastructure, reports The Hill. The plan calls for the creation of a Joint Office of Energy and Transportation between the Energy and Transportation departments, which will be tasked with implementing the charging network and other electrification provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure law.

A recent Convenience Matters podcast episode discusses how EVs are the future, and another episode explains how convenience retailers can attract and retain EV customers. A free NACS webinar helps retailers understand how EVs and environmentally conscious consumers will affect your business.

At this year’s NACS Show, we held three education sessions that focused on the opportunity that EVs bring to retailers. Receive six-month access to this primer on electric vehicles for $49.

Read more about electricity demand charges and what they mean for retailers’ ability to turn a profit from EV charging in the September issue of NACS Magazine.