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Hyundai IONIQ 5, image courtesy Hyundai.


There Could Be A Big Opportunity For Hyundai In South Africa With Vehicle-To-Load (V2L)

There is probably no better place and time to advertise vehicles with Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) capability than in South Africa right now! Vehicles equipped with V2L make it possible to power 240V appliances, for example, from the vehicle’s traction battery.

The Ford F150 Lightning is one of the vehicles that we are really looking forward to that has this function and more. There are several vehicles that are already available on the international market that have this capability. On the list of vehicles that already come in right-hand drive, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 stands out. Hyundai’s website says “The V2L function can supply up to 3.6 kw of power.” The V2L port is located under the second-row seats, and it can be activated when a vehicle is on. More importantly, another V2L port is located at the charging port on the vehicle exterior. Using a converter, customers can charge high-power electric equipment. The outside port provides power even when the vehicle is turned off.

South Africa is going through a huge power crisis, forcing the national power utility company, Eskom, to implement electricity rationing cycles known as load-shedding. Just last week, Eskom raised the level of load-shedding to stage four. Eskom’s load-shedding program is structured in stages, where Eskom sheds a certain quantum of load from the grid to stabilize the grid. So, depending on the severity of the crisis, load-shedding is implemented in stages from Stage 1 to Stage 8, where Stage 1 sheds 1000 MW of load from the grid and in a Stage 8 scenario, Eskom takes out 8,000 MW of load from the grid.

Load-shedding is implemented over 2-hour or 4-hour blocks on a rotational basis depending on the severity of the crises. Stage 8, however means most consumers will experience a blackout for about 12 hours. Let’s look at what Stage 4 load-shedding looks like for a particular neighborhood, Bryanston, Johannesburg in this case. Stage 4 means that the utility company will switch off your electricity from: 06:00 to 08:30, then again from 14:00 to 18:30 and then again from 22:00 to 00:30. This week Eskom announced there will be Stage 2 load shedding.

According to Eskom’s System Status Briefings, a typical day demand profile sees demand peaking well above 30,000 MW between 4pm and 8pm and dropping to a low of  around 23,000 MW between 12 midnight and 4am. A simple load-shifting program backed by battery storage could help address two big problems simultaneously. Electric vehicles with V2L could be used by consumers to store energy during the night and this energy can be used to power some essential devices such as Wi-Fi routers, microwaves, kettles, toasters, induction stoves, and even washing machines, as Mr Rory Reid shows here. One may need to use the washer/drier before that important meeting the next day. Hyundai say you can even charge another electric car using the Ioniq 5’s V2L.

Vehicles such as the Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 could come in handy for a lot of frustrated families right now in South Africa. The standard range Ioniq 5 has a 58 kWh battery (800 V battery) giving it a real world range of over 310 km, according to EVdatabase. The Ioniq 5’s ultra-fast DC charging of up to 350 kW is also quite impressive. That means the Ioniq 5 can charge from 10% to 80% in just 18 minutes. The long range version (all-wheel drive) Ioniq 5 has a 72.6 kWh battery, giving a real world range of over 357 km. A lot of people’s commutes are under 100 km per day. This means that they will have more than enough range to go about their usual activities and then get home and use the V2L function to boil the kettle or warm up some food in the event of a power outage.

There is still one big issue in South Africa. Electric vehicle imports pay high import duties and taxes. This makes electric cars more expensive compared to other places in the world. But if customers could get additional value from their EV with functions such as V2L, it could make the value proposition much better for would-be buyers. Perhaps these high import duties are what is stalling Hyundai SA, I am not sure. But they should at least bring some EVs. After all, consumers can only buy what’s available on the market. Other OEMs have decided to bring in their EVs anyway and not wait for the perfect conditions. Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 should surely be offered in this market.

Interestingly, despite being Africa’s largest market for new vehicles, South Africa does not currently have any electric models on sale from Hyundai or Kia. But Hyundai’s electric vehicles are already available in several other African markets like Kenya (The 2022 Kona EV) and Ghana (Kona again). In fact, the Hyundai Kona is already being assembled in Nigeria.

South Africa’s load-shedding problem is not going away soon. Let’s hope we start to see electric vehicles with V2L capability in this market in the near future. South African dealerships and franchises of international OEMs generally have networks across the whole region, which means that if these types of vehicles come to South Africa, they will also trickle up north across the Limpopo River to Zimbabwe and beyond.

Zimbabwe and Zambia are also facing similar load-shedding issues. V2L would be a good start as the electricity markets evolve and ultimately put in place frameworks for vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid. If Hyundai can get a decent supply of Ioniq 5s into south Africa, there could be a good opportunity to take an early lead in this space. Interest in electric vehicles is growing in South Africa, according to AutoTrader’s  2021 Mid-Year Car Industry Report. For many years there were only one or two models available on the market, but this is starting to change with over 20 more models from Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and several others coming in starting in Q1 2022. Let’s hope Hyundai joins the list. Load-shedding doesn’t happen every day, but when it does happen, it would be nice to have a vehicle with V2L capabilities nearby.

South Africa’s uYilo and Nissan have a partnership which dates back to 2013, when the eMobility Programme was established by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). Part of this collaboration enables uYilo to showcase the LEAF in demonstrating V2G (vehicle-to-grid) and V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) possibilities over the years. Let’s hope Nissan brings its new Ariya with CHADeMo to South Africa as well next year. The Ariya will come with CCS in Europe and the US. Hopefully Nissan will stick to CHAdeMo for other markets to support V2G.

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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.


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