Can Your Car Boil A Kettle?

Sat 26th Feb 2022

The next generation of electric vehicles are creating waves across the motor industry, but the technology within the latest models of EV are stirring an interest from the UK’s biggest energy providers.

Innovation from car manufacturers such a Hyundai and Kia has seen their EVs introduce a feature called ‘Vehicle-To-Load’, which essentially takes the power from the car’s lithium-ion battery pack and via a standard three-pin socket turns the vehicle into a charging station.

While ‘Vehicle-To-Load’ was initially developed to be used for camping trips and to provide power on the go, some of the big energy companies have suggested that the power could provide much more flexibility to the national grid and even used to run household appliances during a blackout.

The tech can currently be found on the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6 electric SUV, but if more EVs include the system then the National Grid could be connected to every EV and use the additional capacity to make the network more sustainable. One million electric cars plugged into the grid could provide about the same amount of power as 5,000 onshore wind turbines.

“If you have a power cut today or this weekend, we want drivers to be aware that their electric car could come to the rescue - the clever technology built into certain models could generate enough power to keep the fridge cold, kettle boiled and, in some instances, power an entire home for days,” said Ginny Buckley from website Electrifying.com.

The idea was first trialled in Japan following the 2010 Fukushima earthquake when the nation’s fleet of Nissan Leafs provided emergency electricity generators in the earthquake zone. Now big energy firms are looking at ways to better manage the network.

Claire MIller at Octopus Energy told The Daily Telegraph that the EVs could act as a giant battery for the network.

“This will demonstrate how you can send a signal from the National Grid control room to those vehicles and contribute to balancing the grid at times when it needs a bit more electricity, for instance at tea time when there is a lot of demand,” she said.

“Conversely, on a windy night when our wind turbines are generating electricity, we might also need a place to put energy.”