One of the more interesting topics discussed during the three hour-long presentation yesterday at Tesla’s Investor Day event was bi-directional charging.
Tesla vehicles currently don’t have that functionality, but they will in about two years, the company’s Senior Vice President of Powertrain and Energy Engineering Drew Baglino revealed during the Q&A session that followed the presentation (you can watch it in full in the video embedded above).
While on stage with Tesla CEO Elon Musk and more than a dozen company executives, he answered a question on why the EV maker hasn’t offered bi-directional charging yet. Baglino said that it simply hasn’t been a priority for Tesla so far. “It wasn’t like a conscious decision to not do it; it just wasn’t a priority at the time,” he replied.
He also noted that the company is in the middle of retooling its power electronics and “will bring that functionality to all of our vehicles over the next two years, let’s say.“
Baglino added that as Tesla continues to improve the power electronics in its vehicles, “we’ve found ways to bring bi-directionality while actually reducing the cost of power electronics in the vehicle.”
Interestingly, Elon Musk chimed in and said he didn’t expect widespread use of the feature by owners. “I don’t think very many people are going to use bi-directional charging, unless you have a Powerwall. Because if you unplug your car, your house goes dark. And this is extremely inconvenient,” he said.
Baglino seemed to agree with Musk on that. “Most of the value comes in charging the car at the right time. It’s not really about sending energy the other way,” he added.
Musk explained that if a customer has a Powerwall that can take the house load, then the car can be used as a supplementary energy source to the Powerwall.
“And then, you’re not going to drive anyone crazy by unplugging your car and having the house go off,” he added.
In conclusion, Musk said he sees some value for bi-directional charging as a supplemental energy source down the road, especially for those Tesla owners who have a Powerwall installed at home.
It remains to be seen whether Tesla will implement this technology on its vehicles by 2025 as Baglino said, given the company’s reluctance to do so until now and Elon Musk’s comments above.
Bi-directional charging allows an EV to send power from its battery to devices, a home, or even the grid. There are several types of bi-directional charging, including vehicle-to-load (V2L), vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-home (V2H), and vehicle-to-grid (V2G).