Vehicle to load (V2L) is starting to appear as a feature in some new battery electric vehicles (BEVs). It allows you to power 240V appliances (the ‘load’ bit in V2L) directly from the BEV (the ‘vehicle’ bit in V2L).
The beauty of this new system is that it is simple and provides more power for much longer than using portable 12V to 240V inverters that can quickly flatten a 12V battery.
V2L is ideal for remote locations as it allows you to use standard appliances like a toaster, induction hotplate or microwave. It will be a boon for tradies too, as it will enable the charging of multiple tool batteries at once, or even run power tools like a drop saw and work lighting without the need for a portable generator.
The big V2L questions are, therefore:
- How do you use it?
- How much power can you use without overloading the system?
- How long can you use it before flattening the battery?
How to use V2L
The first BEV to go on sale here offering V2L is the Hyundai Ioniq 5 (read our drive impressions here). The Ioniq 5 comes with an adaptor that plugs into the charging socket.
At the outer end of the adaptor is a 15A 3-pin socket with an on/off switch. Using it is as simple as plugging the appliance lead into the adaptor, inserting the adaptor into the charge socket and turning the adaptor on!
It is worth noting that the next generation of BEVs (like the Rivian ute and Ford F150 Lightning) will come with built-in 3-pin sockets so no adaptor will be needed. (In fact, the Ioniq 5 already has this feature in some overseas markets).
For the Ioniq 5, up to 15 Amps is available to use through the 240 Volt outlet. However, most appliances are rated in Watts rather than Amps, so 15A at 240V is probably better written as 3,600 Watts. With 3,600W you can power any standard 240V household appliance or any combination of appliances up to 3,600W.
Below is a table showing the typical wattages of common household appliances. Any combination of these that adds up to less than 3600 is fine to use with the Ioniq 5.
Note to table:
- These figures are provided as a guide. Your own appliances may vary slightly to these figures. Before using any combination of appliances, check their actual wattage ratings before plugging them in.
- Appliances with motors will momentarily pull higher wattages as they start up. For motorised appliances (eg: drop saws, blenders) if the collected Wattage is above 2400W, turn off some other appliance to allow a little ‘head room’ for this.
Some typical rating labels. Wattages circled in red.
In the Ioniq 5, if you are still unsure about the wattage of an appliance, simply check the dash readout. There you will find the instantaneous power being drawn through the V2L adaptor.
- 1 kW = 1,000W. Above readout is showing 700W. (In this case – an electric kettle).
- ‘100%’ is how much of the EV battery I am allowing to be drawn via V2L.
Run-time before flattening the battery
This is a bit of ‘how long is a piece of string’ question. But the simple answer is that for most applications if you start with a full BEV battery to begin with it could take up to several weeks! Plus, you can set a minimum battery level for V2L, meaning the function will turn off if you drain the battery down to your pre-set level.
To give some more confidence around that figure – the worst-case scenario would be to pull 3,600W continuously till the EV battery is flat. For a fully-charged Ioniq 5, this would still take 20 hours. That, however, is a very unlikely circumstance.
In the more normal scenario of casually used appliances – an ‘average’ camping or worksite usage might be 100 to 500W per hour. This would flatten a fully charged Ioniq 5 battery in 146 to 730 hours. (6 to 30 days).
That means a typical worksite daily or weekend camping use is not going to restrict the ability to get there, use some 240V power and get home again.
Obviously, if going to more remote camping sites you would have to be careful to ration the usage of the V2L function. But the chances of running the battery flat are nil if you set a minimum battery level for V2L to work down to.
Whilst currently only offered in the Ioniq 5, V2L functionality has already been announced for the Kia EV6, Genesis models GV6 and G80, as well as the Toyota bZ4X, with many more expected to come.
In fact, in a couple of years’ time it is unlikely that any new BEV will be offered for sale without it.
By the way, as the system evolves V2L 240V sockets will become built into the cars as well as the system growing to offer V2H (vehicle to Home) and, by around 2025, full V2G (Vehicle to Grid) functionality.
As a piece of history, V2L was always available with cars using the CHAdeMO DC charging system. (Mainly Nissan Leafs and Mitsubishi iMiEVs). However a special (and expensive) adaptor box that inverted DC to AC was needed.
These were not made available in most markets outside of Japan. With the end of CHAdeMO as a mainstream DC charging system, this earlier V2L system is now very unlikely to become adopted.
Bryce Gaton is an expert on electric vehicles and contributor for The Driven and Renew Economy. He has been working in the EV sector since 2008 and is currently working as EV electrical safety trainer/supervisor for the University of Melbourne. He also provides support for the EV Transition to business, government and the public through his EV Transition consultancy EVchoice.