Batteries included: How vehicle-to-load (V2L) technology is powering up the future

Imagine driving along one of Sweden´s iconic hairpin roads with breathtaking views of the country’s rugged and wild natural beauty – the light mist in the valley together with snowcapped mountains creating a National Geographic-worthy photo-op wherever you turn your head. After weaving your car through the bends, you reach the top of the mountain where you drive onto a desolate and rocky road leading you to a tiny wooden cabin. Most people would assume that it’s almost impossible that such a remote place could have electricity, but you have brought a small piece of civilization with you – your car.

Let there be light

You park, plug the EV into an outlet and the cabin lights up, taking all its power from your car. Sounds like something out of a futuristic movie, perhaps? Well, think again!

By: Axel Philipson, Country Manager, Sweden

Power your adventure

Vehicle-to-load (V2L) technology – which enables electric vehicles to function as mobile powers banks – is now very much a reality. Through an inverter, EVs are able to discharge energy to power external devices and homes. The concept, while simple, is revolutionary, marking a shift from vehicles being mere consumers of energy to becoming active participants in the energy ecosystem.

V2L technology is still in its early stages of development but is rapidly gaining momentum. Several automotive manufacturers, including Hyundai (1), BYD (2) and Kia (3), have already introduced V2L-equipped EVs. Even Tesla has recently jumped on the bandwagon with their Cybertruck and Powershare (4).

Solely vehicle-dependent, the technology has proven itself as a solution to power outages for EV owners in a world where extreme weather and natural disasters are happening more often than we would like to admit (5, 6).

On a more positive note, the technology opens up a whole range of possibilities, from remote and off-grid settings like camping in the wilderness, to powering outdoor events without the hassle of traditional generators – run on petrol or diesel – and extension cords. At Zaptec we tried the latter ourselves when live recording the beautiful and serene “Feathers in Snow” on the bank of Tysdalsvatnet (in Western Norway close to our HQ in Stavanger) with an EV serving as a silent and efficient power station in the background.

In a more commercial realm, the technology could transform businesses, offering a mobile and flexible energy solution. From construction sites to remote field operations, the applications are myriad.

Unleashing the power

Combined with an advanced bi-directional (two-way) charger, EVs can feed electricity back into the grid – a technology known as vehicle-to-grid (V2G). Not all electric cars have this feature today, but almost all car manufacturers are implementing it into their new models. One might call it a scale-up of V2L, however, it is a much more complex technology that requires industry standards and regulations to be established to ensure interoperability and safety throughout (7, 8, 9).

While the full scope of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology's requirements for vehicles and charging stations continues to emerge, Zaptec has been proactively aligning with ISO 15118 standards since 2020, marking our commitment to future-ready innovation.

The journey has just begun

In conclusion, V2L and V2G technology, in essence, is more than just an accessory to the electric vehicle movement. It represents a fundamental shift in how we view and use vehicles — not as isolated units but as integral parts of a larger energy narrative. The technology stands at the cusp of transforming from a novel concept into a vital component of our energy infrastructure.

The potential is vast, the possibilities exciting, and the journey has just begun.