A California bill could help make EVs a blackout solution

The state might require every electric vehicle to be capable of powering your home — and the grid — through a process called bidirectional charging.

Chris Bowe was preparing for his daughter’s ninth birthday party in February when a drenching storm knocked out power to his neighborhood in Hayward, California. Minutes before the party began, Bowe connected his electric Ford F-150 Lightning to a panel in his garage, sending electricity from the pickup truck to his house.

“It was dark out, parents were dropping off their kids, and our house was lit up,” said Bowe, who works as a FedEx manager in the Bay Area. “They were like, ‘How do you have power?’”

Bowe kept the lights on using bidirectional charging, which allows electric vehicles to not only receive electricity but discharge it as well. It’s a feature that a proposed California bill would require that all EVs sold in the state offer by model year 2027.


BMW i3

Making an EV bidirectional capable is a matter of equipping it with the right software and hardware, and some, like the Nissan Leaf, Kia EV 6, and the Lightning, already provide the feature. Other manufacturers have been slower to roll out the technology. Tesla, for example, says its cars will be bidirectional by 2025.

Read more: Grist

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