The brilliant minds at Barcelona-based Wallbox launched their bidirectional home EV charger in the UK this week in partnership with Octopus Electric Vehicles. The launch will see UK homeowners getting their first taste of the world’s smallest residential bidirectional EV charger.
First and foremost, the Wallbox Quasar is a fully functional residential DC charger. It provides a simple 7.4 kW charging experience for all vehicles with a CHAdeMO fast charging port or to a Tesla with the purchase of Tesla’s CHAdeMO adapter. To leverage the bidirectional capability of the charger, the vehicle must be equipped with a native CHAdeMO charger, like the Nissan LEAF.
Even more importantly, the Quasar looks beyond simple EV charging to a world where the massive batteries in our vehicles can be utilized to balance the grid and power our homes. This vehicle-to-grid (V2G) or vehicle-to-home (V2H) technology has been talked about for ages in the world of electric vehicles and Wallbox is finally bringing into homes today with this new partnership with Octopus Electric Vehicles.
“An EV stores enough energy to power a home for multiple days, and most drivers only use a fraction of this capacity on their daily commute,” Wallbox co-founder and Chief Product Officier Eduard Castañeda explains. “By enabling the transfer of energy to and from the battery to the grid and the home, consumers are empowered to use and share their energy in ways we didn’t even imagine until recently.”
The launch of the Wallbox Quasar has the potential to let homeowners in the UK tap into the battery in their electric vehicle to power their homes. Providing an EV charger capable of V2G/V2H is the first step in enabling this powerful technology for homeowners and that’s where Octopus Electric Vehicles comes in.
“The Wallbox Quasar enables us to bring V2G charging technology to our customers on the Powerloop project,” Claire Miller, Director of Technology & Innovation at Octopus Electric Vehicles said. “We envisage a connected world of energy where your car is capable of supporting and strengthening the grid at times when renewable energy is abundant or when demand is high.”
Quasar buyers in the UK are also eligible for installation grants from the Office for Low Emission vehicles to encourage the adoption of EVs. These grants provide a hefty 75% discount on the purchase price and cost of installation, up to £500.
Powerloop is a massive demonstration project kicked off by Octopus Energy Vehicles to explore the potential of V2G/V2H technology in the real world, at scale. It was funded by £3 million in funding from Innovate UK, thanks to funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). In partnership with sister company Octopus Energy, the project plans to integrate V2G/V2H solutions in 130 homes.
“The new possibilities that emerge with this scenario will require technology to harness their potential,” CEO of Wallbox Enric Asunsión said. “At Wallbox we are creating the first generation of products that will give consumers the ability to use their EVs as a source of energy for the grid or the home.”
Octopus Electric Vehicles is also offering comprehensive lease packages under the Powerloop program that bundle a new Nissan LEAF, a Wallbox Quasar charger, a smart meter, and a green energy tariff into a single package. Customers can tap into a smartphone app to set their charging preferences to very quickly earn up to £30 cashback every month.
The program aims to illustrate the pent up potential of tapping into vehicle batteries for a wide range of uses. Many unknowns exist in the vehicle to grid space. How much wear and tear will the vehicle battery experience from the additional utilization? Is the additional use of the battery justified for homeowners, given the potential for monthly credits? Are changes needed on the vehicle/charger/grid to scale V2G technology?
We will keep an eager eye on the UK pilot to see what learnings surface across the board.