EVs could power your home, our state and slash electricity bills

15 March, 2024

The state’s largest member-based organisation is predicting large electricity bills could be a thing of the past as bi-directional electric vehicle (EV) charging technology matures in Australia.

As more EVs with bi-directional charging capability enter the Australian market, motorists will have more choice to buy an EV that will effectively act has a home battery – slashing household electricity bills.  

Unlike one-way EV chargers, bidirectional chargers can also discharge energy from an EV.  

This means they can be used to power a home – known as vehicle-to-home (V2H) charging – or to export energy to the grid – vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging. 

Chief Executive Officer Nick Reade said RAA aimed to challenge the thinking and perception around EVs.  

“Most people think of EVs as just a car – to get from point A to point B – but they’re so much more than that,” Mr Reade said.  

“As we move toward a green and electrified future in the home and on the roads, EVs will quite literally connect to your home to potentially replace your home battery or the energy you’re taking from the grid. 

“An EV battery is typically three or four times larger than the average home battery – meaning it could power an average household for around three days.  

“Imagine coming home from work or school pick up and plugging your car in to power your home when electricity is at its most expensive in peak periods. 

“Households could drastically reduce their electricity bills – one of the biggest contributors to spiralling cost-of-living pressures at the moment. 

“This will make EVs a more attractive option for motorists as not only are they cheaper to run than traditional petrol and diesel vehicles – but the electricity savings mean you’ll save even more in the long run.” 

Mr Reade said the full potential would be realised with greater collaboration amongst industry, governments and car manufacturers.

Mr Reade said that potential extended to EVs eventually being one of the greatest enablers of Australia’s transition to clean energy – able to support the state’s energy grid by acting as a solar sponge during the day and reducing demand on the grid during evening peak periods. 

“Once V2G charging is operating on a large scale, the combined storage capacity of EVs will play a role in helping South Australia achieve net 100 per cent renewable energy,” Mr Reade said. 

“For that to happen, we need industry to work together to overcome a few barriers including standardising plugs, getting more EVs with bi-directional capability into the Australian market and updating the Australian standards for certifying V2G chargers.

“It’s early days, but in the same way home batteries have been trialled as part of a virtual power plant, EVs could be used to stabilise the grid and be paid to do it. 

“There is a huge opportunity here for energy retailers to help remove the financial barriers to buying an EV, by rewarding customers for sharing some of the storage capacity of their battery.

“You could think of it as effectively having another big battery in SA. 

“To put it into perspective, you’d need just over 3,000 vehicles connected to each other and the grid to equate to the 150MW Big Battery at Hornsdale.”

Currently only EVs with a CHAdeMO charge port can facilitate bidirectional charging and only a few models are available in Australia, including the Nissan Leaf EV, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. However, this is expected to change in the next few years when more EVs will be equipped with V2G and V2H capability.  

Homes would require smart chargers which will ensure you use the energy generated by your solar panels during the day to charge your EV battery – and then use the EV to power your home at night or when electricity is more expensive.