Warning against EV owners' 'revolutionary' solution to common battery concern

Battery life is a major downside of electric vehicle ownership. But this system might just be the thing to change that.

An Aussie EV owner chargers his friend's car using his own (left) An empty battery screen is also seen (right)
Australian EV owners dabbling in vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) charging have been warned the emerging technology could be dangerous, or even damaging to the car. Source: Facebook

Australian EV owners dabbling in vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) charging have been warned the emerging technology is not yet fully understood and therefore could be dangerous, or even damaging to the car.

Aussies this week have been sharing their stories about how they've charged up their cars using a cable hooked to another EV, the equivalent to jump starting a petrol powered vehicle, known as an internal combustion engine (ICE).

Though the system sounds undoubtedly handy, experts have warned that just because it's possible in some models, such as BYDs, doesn't mean we should be taking advantage of the tech just yet.

Online, multiple electric vehicle owners spoke about how when desperately low on battery, they'd charged their car using energy from another. One Victorian man said he "topped up a friend's car" using his own "for the last two kilometres" of a recent journey.

A motorbike charges from a van on the left, beside another EV charging a third a on the right.
EV owners spoke this week about how when desperately low on battery, they'd charged their car using energy from another.

He said after the pair managed to deliver "a little over 1kWh", equal to two per cent battery power, that was enough to make it to "the DC charger for coffee and a chat" in "30 minutes [ish]".

Another man revealed that "for experimental purposes" he charged his "wife's MG5 at 5.4kW for an hour from the the V2L port on my MG4". Another shared an image of a van powering an electric motorbike using V2V charging.

Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, Canberra-based mechanic Saffy Sgroi said "safety is the number one concern" when it comes to V2V charging. Sgroi is heavily involved in industry groups who are considering the transition to EVs and has been running her business Car Mechanical Services at Fisher in the ACT for almost two decades.

She said the process could even harm the vehicle's battery life.

"It's definitely possible," she told Yahoo."BYD makes their electric vehicles part of a connected system instead of standalone unit, car-to-house, car-to-car etc.

An EV motorist in Sydney is seen charging their car using a cable from the street to a property.
Aussies are repeatedly being caught in compromising positions trying to charge their EVs. Source: Facebook

"Yes, safety is definitely the number one concern. Infrastructure is another issue. The implementation of a V2G system — technology that enables energy to be pushed back to the power grid from the battery of an electric vehicle — would require significant infrastructure upgrades to support bidirectional charging.

"That would include the installation of smart charging stations and a grid management system capable of handling the variability of energy from EV batteries.

"Some argue potential battery degradation could also become an issue. The potential benefits of bi-directional EV charging is still in its infancy stage, there are concerns about the impact on battery life."

Discharging an EV battery too frequently could potentially reduce the battery life, Sgroi added, but "we don’t know much about this yet".

EVs with bidirectional (two-way) charging capability can be used to power a home, feed energy back into the electricity grid and even provide backup power in the event of a blackout or emergency.

Electric vehicles are "essentially a large battery on wheels", experts say, so bidirectional chargers can — technically — "enable a vehicle to store cheap off-peak electricity or solar power" which could "reduce household electricity costs".

Some say it has the potential to "revolutionise the way our power grids operate", with the potential for tens of thousands of electric vehicles to supply power simultaneously during times of peak electricity demand, according to Jason Svarc Founder, Solar and Battery Specialist at Clean Energy Reviews.

Sgroi warned that it's extremely important anybody working with electric cars are fully aware of what they're dealing with, as they're "not always safe".

"We're talking about working with a huge battery here, my staff — and I've got five guys — they're genuinely concerned," she said. "You've got 400 kilowatts of battery running, they can fry you. If you do the wrong thing — you're gone."

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