Can electric vehicles be used to power buildings or community shelters?

All electric vehicles are effectively batteries-on-wheels, which means they could be used in the future to power appliances, homes, building, traffic lights, and even send power back to the grid.

In Australia, at present there are some vehicles that come with a feature called “vehicle-to-load” (V2L), which allows 240V appliances to be plugged-in to the car and run off the vehicle’s battery. This can include lights, kettles, power tools, etc.

There have also been some initial trials of exporting power from EVs back to the grid using a feature called “vehicle-to-grid” – although this is not yet widely available commercially. This feature provides the vehicle owner will the ability to potentially charge using cheap electricity, and then sell electricity back to the grid at a profit. Related to V2G is another feature called “vehicle-to-home” (V2H) which allows EV owners to power their homes using the vehicles battery, either to reduce costs or as a backup during a blackout. The average EV battery holds enough energy to power a home for anywhere between 3-7 days.

While we are still a few years away from these features being available in many EVs, there is significant promise for EVs being able to provide energy benefits, in addition to meeting transport needs, in the near future.

The EVC is actively working with our members, other stakeholders and governments to support the development of V2G.