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November 18, 2021

Bidirectional At-Home EV Charging Drives Long-Term Value for Commercial Fleets

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4 MIN. READ

For fleet managers, electrification requires careful consideration of costs and value. One thing to consider is the value you can create with the electric grid itself. With innovations like bidirectional charging, an EV charging infrastructure can unlock value in more ways than one. Here’s what you need to know about asset management and electrification.

What is bidirectional charging?

With traditional EV charging, power flows from the grid into the vehicle’s battery, where it’s stored as DC power until the EV uses it.

Bidirectional chargers allow for vehicle-to-grid transfers. The energy stored in the battery can be uploaded to the grid if needed. Bidirectional chargers also allow energy stored in the battery to be uploaded to the home in the event of a power outage.

The demand for electricity fluctuates. With bidirectional charging, an EV driver can charge their vehicle when demand and rates are low, then plug their EV back in to give some of the stored power back when demand and rates peak. This practice can supplement the energy needs of a building or result in your organization receiving energy credits. Besides, you can make a difference by helping stabilize the grid when demand increases.

This technology can help you achieve a stronger integration with the grid and cut costs linked to electrification.

The hidden value of the grid

Traditionally, vehicles are the main asset that fleets manage. It’s a straightforward model in which cars or trucks deliver value by turning fuel into moving power.

With electrification, there is a wider scope of assets to consider. Assets under management include vehicles as well as their integration with the grid and any energy stored in the EV batteries.

You can unlock the value of the grid by improving access and integration. One of the best ways to do this is to invest in a charging infrastructure. With at-home or on-premise stations, you can facilitate access to bidirectional charging. There are additional benefits, such as not depending on the rates set by existing charging networks, not being tethered to public charging stations, not having to wait in line, and not having to worry about out-of-order stations.

Plus, you can build a strong foundation for your fleet through ownership of your charging infrastructure. It’s an asset that can boost valuation for your organization and help you predict costs. Besides, an existing infrastructure is a scalable resource since you can have more stations installed as needed.

Charging as an asset

With 80% of EV charging already happening at home, it’s clear that at-home stations are a convenient option.

Investing in at-home stations for your drivers will give you access to a durable asset that continues to create value for your fleet over the years. And, with bidirectional charging, you can multiply the ways in which you get value out of this asset.

While it’s true that building a proprietary charging network requires a significant up-front investment, electrification lowers costs. Electricity is cheaper than fuel and rates are less volatile. Plus, maintenance costs are lower for EVs. You can also cut costs further by having drivers leave directly from their home with a full charge in the morning rather than having them drive to a central facility.

Bidirectional charging gives you an additional source of value. With the right management strategies in place, you can have drivers charge their EV when demand is low. They can then give back any unused energy when rates peak to either get energy credits or power your building.

Plus, bidirectional charging can give you more flexibility when planning routes. Canceling or shortening a route won’t result in unnecessary costs if the driver can simply connect their EV to their charging station and give the stored energy back.

Virtual Power Plants improve resource management

You can go further by adopting a Virtual Power Plant. A VPP is an infrastructure that decentralizes energy production. It’s a network of small units that produce or store power. These units are connected to a cloud-based aggregation software that manages access to this energy.

It’s a flexible model since you can add or remove remote units as needed. You can use a VPP to oversee power drawn from EV batteries to power a building, or to track and manage how much energy EV drivers upload to the grid.

A VPP is a great way to unlock even more value from your fleet. It can give you more control over stored energy and turn it into a resource that is readily available. Managing several remote bidirectional stations can be challenging, but a VPP allows you to aggregate these resources in a virtual environment.

Start creating your charging infrastructure

With close to 1,000 licensed installers across the U.S. and Canada, Qmerit takes the stress out of vetting charging station installers to start growing your infrastructure. Our mission is to make electrification accessible and affordable. We can help you manage the transition to at-home charging for your drivers, provide a positive and seamless experience along the way, and discuss ways to unlock more value through bidirectional charging.

Want to learn more? Contact us today to get an estimate.

Lowry Stoops President, Qmerit Network