Tesla Cars Should Have V2L Capability

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I was interested to read in CleanTechnica (regarding Tesla layoffs and slowing demand) that Tesla sales have slowed in the USA in recent months, although they are still accelerating in Australia. My wife and I have enjoyed owning a Tesla Model 3 SR+ for four years and have even completed a 7,000 km trip from Central Queensland to Tasmania and back. (We cheated and took car on the ferry across Bass Strait.) Our daughter bought an MG ZS EV a year ago, and so we have been able to compare the two cars. The MG lacks some of the bells and whistles of the Tesla and has a shorter range, but the MG purchase price was $20,000 less, which was very attractive.

Author, Arthur Hunt, with electric drill powered by MG ZS EV.

As we became familiar with the MG, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that it had vehicle-to-load (V2L) capability, which means that the car can discharge 240-volt power, which is the standard grid voltage in Australia. This feature had not been mentioned by the sales agent, who, I suspect, was not aware of it. As the power discharge cable is an optional extra for MG cars, we purchased it for $250. Soon afterwards, during scheduled maintenance on the electricity supply on our street, we made practical use of this acquisition. We were able to plug the cable into the charge port at the front of the car and run extension cords into our house to power the refrigerator, freezer, wi-fi modem, and a stair climber for four hours, using only 5% of the battery capacity in that time. I have since demonstrated V2L elsewhere and powered an electric jug and an electric drill.

Power discharge display in MG ZS EV.

As Queensland is frequently subject to severe storms, flash flooding, cyclones, and bushfires, the government encourages resilient communities so that they can cope with natural disasters. V2L will be a great tool during emergencies. In a recent event which caused a power outage, a Gold Coast resident used V2L to power the dialysis machine for her daughter. A car battery can provide power to a house for about two days, as it has about five times as much storage as a home battery. It is also easier and safer to use V2L than using a petrol generator, which will be noisy and comes with the risk of dangerous fumes and inflammable fuel. A Home Open Energy Manager (HOEM) is now available for installation by an electrician that will make V2H (Home) possible.

MG ZS EV connected to caravan.

V2L will also be very useful when camping with an EV, especially during bushfire restrictions when open fires and BBQs are banned. It will be possible to cook, power a small refrigerator, run lights, and even have a fan in a tent. Many Australians have a caravan or camper trailer with an external power socket for use in caravan parks. It will be possible to use an EV to power a caravan at off-grid sites. Recently, I was able to do this to power the air conditioner and microwave in a caravan. Caution — some modern caravans use 15-amp connections.

MG ZS V2L discharge cable.

In addition to MG, other brands — including BYD, Genesis, Hyundai, Kia, and Nissan — offer V2L. Why has Tesla been left behind? As it becomes more widely publicised, V2L will be an important marketing advantage for the other brands. Tesla has devoted a lot of effort to provide entertainment options, but this practical feature has been ignored. Although it is available in the Cybertruck, there are many owners of other Tesla models who could use V2L capability. Personally, I would rate V2L as a highly desirable feature ahead of many of the entertainment options, such as the Light Show. Perhaps Tesla is planning to go further and offer V2H and V2G (vehicle to grid), but in the meantime, I suspect they will lose sales due to lack of V2L in their cars.

By Arthur Hunt

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