EV Powers House: Australia’s V2G Bidirectional Charger Trailblazer

Exclusive! An in-depth look at a pioneering bi-directional EV charger installation in South Australia. V2G is exciting stuff, but some surprising limitations are revealed.

Following on from my initial report on Friday, SolarQuotes founder Finn Peacock gets ito the nitty-gritty of this milestone V2G EV bi-directional charger installation for a Nissan Leaf. Along with a rooftop solar power and battery system, the electric car and home EV charger are helping to power a home and business in SA’s Barossa Valley.

Set-up costs, technical specifications, battery warranty implications, EV battery use clarifications and limitations are covered; and much more.

— Transcript begins:

Finn: We’re at what we believe is the first bi-directional charger install on a residential or commercial property in Australia; and we’re at Ballycroft Wines in the beautiful Barossa Valley here in South Australia.

V2G – What You’ll Need

Finn: Now, if you’re chomping at the bit to get bidirectional charging at your home or commercial property, there’s three things you need to line up.

One, you need a car that’s capable of V2G. So, this is a Nissan Leaf Gen 2. It’s one of the few electric cars in Australia that can do that.

Secondly, you need a bidirectional charger like this Wallbox Quasar. There’s another one in Australia that we know of, which is the Delta V2X. And these babies start at about $10,000 plus installation.

And the third thing you need, which is probably the hardest, is you need permission from your local electricity network to connect the whole shebang to the grid. Joseph engaged Jet Charge, who’s the distributor of the Wallbox, and they worked with SA Power Networks to get permission and line up all the technical stuff. And it took three years to get that permission.

So, let’s now talk to the owner, Joseph – who’s had this all installed for only three months – about why he bought it, what it cost and how it’s going. Joseph’s claim to fame, apart from having the best wine in Australia, is, tell me if I’m wrong; you’ve got the only vehicle to grid charger installed in South Australia.

Joseph: That’s correct. And we installed it about three months ago. SA Power Networks in South Australia is the first network to have it approved is the reason we are one of the first, which is great for South Australia.

Joseph’s V2G Setup – Specs And Limitations

Finn: Okay, so let’s go through some technical specs. The Nissan Leaf Gen 2 has a 40 kilowatt-hour battery in it?

Joseph: Our car is a 40 kilowatt (hour) battery. You can now purchase a 65 kilowatt (hour) from Nissan at the moment, but ours is 40 kilowatt (hours).

Finn: This is a Quasar, a Wallbox Quasar bidirectional charger. This will charge and discharge at 7 kilowatts?

Joseph: At pretty much 7.2 kilowatts. You can charge the car through the CHAdeMO plug and discharge at a maximum of 7.2 kilowatts; and at a minimum of about 1.2 kilowatts.

Finn: So that’s really important for people to realise there is a minimum discharge from the car.

Joseph: Yes, that’s correct. That’s when you are running with V2H. This has the ability to do V2H and V2G. And you can adjust that with your phone. With V2G, you’re not just putting power on the grid, which most people think. V2G, it powers your house first and any extra not being used goes back onto the grid. Where V2H only draws from the car what has been used from the house. But you have to be drawing more than 1.2 kilowatt.

Finn: Yeah, that’s really interesting. So if your house is pulling less than 1.2 kilowatts overnight, which most houses would, and you’ve got one of these; you could still use it, but you’d have to put the excess going up to 1.2 kilowatts back into the grid.

Joseph: Back into the grid, which is not a problem.

How The Nissan’s Leaf Battery Is Being Used

Joseph: There’s power companies now that are paying a lot extra at night-time now for feed in tariff up to 18 to 20 cents per kilowatt (hour) to feed in between six o’clock and nine o’clock at night at peak.

Finn: So are you taking advantage of any of those?

Joseph: No, I’m primarily using my car to discharge at peak between six o’clock and nine o’clock at night. While you are cooking, you’re running the air conditioner, to warm the house at the moment. Summertime you’d be chilling.

Nine o’clock we turn it off and then turn the car off. In the morning, you want to have a little bit of power left to get to where you’re going the next day. We don’t use it every night. If we happen to be driving to Adelaide, which happens to be from here a 170 kilometre round- trip, we won’t use the car over that particular night. Because we need the power for the next morning.

Finn: How much of the car battery do you generally drain at night?

Joseph: On average at this time of year we are draining about 20 kilowatts.

Finn: 20 kilowatt-hours overnight.

Joseph: So we’re staying within the 80% of and 20% of low charge. We’re only setting it between two and three kilowatts; because that’s all we are using.

EV Battery Degradation And Warranty

Joseph: And with that, you’re not really degenerating the battery so much because you are not fast charging it and discharging it at 50 kilowatts an hour, which the CHAdeMO plug has the ability; and that really just degrades the battery over time.

Finn: Are you worried about degrading the battery faster because you’re using its power?

Joseph: No, I’m not, because Nissan Leaf offer an eight year warranty on the battery and a five year warranty on the car. Nissan, using a Wallbox V2G converter, the warranty is covered. The battery of the car is covered using the system. Which is by Nissan Australia. And and you are right. If you’re looking at purchasing a new car, having V2G capabilities in the future is something you can consider before purchasing your next electric car.

Finn: Interestingly – cuts out all the Teslas at the moment. Tesla has great cars, but for some reason they’re refusing, at the moment, to enable V2G on them.

Load Performance

Finn: So will it match the load of your house?

Joseph: Easily. We are a small winery. We do about 10 tonne of fruit a year. Right in the middle of vintage, we would not pull more than seven kilowatts. That’s a lot of power.

Finn: So if, if this complex is pulling say 5.2 kilowatts, will the Wallbox automatically pull 5.2 kilowatts from the battery; or do you have to set that?

Joseph: No, it can automatically discharge 5.2 kilowatts.

Finn: So just like a normal home battery, it just discharges what it needs to.

What Everything Cost

Finn: Can we talk money, how much everything costs?

Joseph: Okay. Our Nissan Leaf cost, on road, $52,000. The Quasar V2G converter cost $10,000 plus GST – $11,000. And cost about $1,500 to install. But we had to run a lot of cables to get to my meter box, which is a long way away. Installation could run anywhere from $800 to $2,000.

Finn: Did you have trouble finding an installer that was happy to do one of these?

Joseph: Luke Cartright, a local electrician, he put in my two Tesla car charging stations five years ago and Luke Cartright was really up with this kind of technology.

How It All Works – And Blackout Capability

Finn: So, Joseph, can you show me how it works?

Joseph: No problem. So simply plug in the CHAdeMO plug. And as you see it’s set at about 25 amps discharge. It’s clicked in, it’s now charging the car at – I’ve only got it set at at eight amps.

Finn: So, the electricity is now going from your solar, through the Wallbox; ah -you can hear it’s just kicked in.

Joseph: And then basically if you have a look at this, we can wind that round to discharge.

Finn: So, the amps have just gone from positive to negative. So, negative amps means the electricity’s now flowing out of the car or will be soon; into the home.

How much solar have you got on the roofs here?

Joseph: So, we have 33 kilowatts of solar. Because that’s the maximum you could have with three phase.

Finn: Could this backup the house?

Joseph: If the power’s off with SA Power Networks – this unit will not work at all with the power off. But the the new Quasar V2G 2, the second generation of this, will have the capability of working when the power is off. And they could be available in Australia in about one to one-and-a- half years.

Added note: Joseph also has a BYD battery and Fronius Gen24 system for backup given the Wallbox setup isn’t able to do this.

Finn: Well done Joseph on being an absolute trailblazer, because everyone I speak to is interested in V2G and V2H. And well done for having the persistence to work with SA Power Networks over three years to get permission to put this in; so others can follow your lead. Well done mate.

Joseph: Thanks to Nissan, JET Charge for all the work they’ve done, and without question, and Wallbox; because this will be your game changer.

— Transcript Ends

Related: Discover everything you need to know in our EV charging 101 guide, and the role home solar power can play. Need a home charging solution? Get quotes for EV chargers from installers Finn has pre-vetted and trusts. And for more great videos on everything solar power related, check out and subscribe to the SolarQuotes Youtube channel!

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Does Tesla current vehicles have the ability to do V2G ? I understand from a previous Tesla employee that that are all capable and just need a software update to activate the feature? Does anyone know if that is true?

    • V2H and especially V2G could well be a game changer in terms of the further development of renewables, just imagine tens of thousands of EV’s becoming electricity storage for powering the grid at times when renewables aren’t producing enough power.

      The government should do all they can to facilitate.

  2. the one and only use case I can see for this:
    *which I think is still the wrong option*

    Uber wealthy weekenders at their holiday home off the beaten track.
    House has solar, but no battery.
    Owners (already have an EV)

    The $10k (+install) V2H offers a BMS between vehicle and house for out of hours power usage.

    ***Rather than hope the network operator allows the integration…
    Think ahead and install a Hybrid inverter. Spend $10k on batteries.
    Have it up and running in 30 days.

    If the debate is.. ‘I’d only use the holiday batteries maybe once a week’.. the same would be said for the V2H integration.

    Sorry guys, this V2H concept makes my head hurt. It doesn’t seem logical.

  3. What happened to the Rectifier Technologies Highbury Charger? Announced with lots of fanfare and now dissappeared?

    No one ever mentions Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV which has V2G capability from 2021 model? Yes not pure electric but has a battery the same size as a Powerwall and you can actually carry a decent weight/size of load in it and tow a trailer with it. So it’s very practical for people who don’t often travel more than 50km in a round trip. And also practical for occassional long trips on petrol when you don’t want to spend time looking around for reasonably priced charging stations

    • Yep, I also noted that. Very interested in the Outlander PHEV based upon future bidirectional charging opportunity, and agree with the concluding comments about potential “game changer” …. why pay $15K for a 14kWh Powerwall when you have a 20kWh battery in the carport …. ?

    • I’ve got an Outlander PHEV, it seems a bit useless for V2H because it barely has enough battery for itself, if you use it for the house there would be none left for driving.
      With the current cost of connecting, you could probably get a standalone battery with as much useable capacity as the PHEV. Might be worth considering if the connection got much cheaper.
      I’m more in the mode of buying a house battery to allow the PHEV to charge overnight.

  4. Dominic Wild says

    Have read somewhere that Japan has legislated V2G or V2H, don’t know which, and if this info is correct, then that begs the question why we cannot buy mature and inexpensive bi-directional chargers from Japan?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      I have some bad news, Dominic. While we can expect Japanese V2G to improve the reliability of bidirectional chargers, the Japanese market can be slow when it comes to driving down prices. This is because Japanese consumers are often focused on novelty, reliability, brand, and appearance before price. But quality and reliability improvements are good and price falls will occur, even if they take time.

  5. The interview reinforces a challenge for the industry: Even enthusiastic, switched-on early adopters of new technology (and many journalists) seem to need coaching on the difference between power and energy.

  6. I don’t get it. What’s the point?

  7. It seems like an expensive way to get a battery assisted home and still have to use candles when the grid power fails!

  8. Great story thanks Finn, this needs adoption across the country by those who could use the benefits.

    Can you seek the technical details and put them up on the site. it could help other early adopters, as well the Gov Authorities that need all the help they can get. Yes remove names and numbers but the deliberations between the participants will assist us all going forward.

    Its not for every one granted, but the more this is open sourced and ventilated the sooner those who need to adopt can get on with it.

    • One thing seldom mentioned in an ac coupled battery system (bit off topic in this discussion…) is that if the grid fails for an extended period, & the backup batteries flatten (ie 0 avail storage left), the AC powered inverters will not start,until the grid returns. This can be overcome with a few (E facing) panels, & an MPPT charger directly charging the batteries, so the system starts once some charge returns to the batteries.
      V>H or V>G are basically a DC charger/discharger on Chademo atm. Even the Imiev was capable of that. The CCS2 spec does not currently (to my knowledge) have the capability of V>H/G, but some have a built in inverter that will supply AC, but that is not approved for grid connection (& possibly has no way of synchronizing). Ioniq 5 comes to mind…
      Actually, I wonder how long it will take a DIY hacker to re-purpose an old inverter to run V>H. Probably not too hard to achieve (There was one project on the web, but his ended in smoke!)

      Happy New Year to all! Doug.

  9. Maka McMahon says

    V2G is of much less interest to me than V2H. I would like the option of using my EV battery to support my house in the event of a blackout. I’m not very interested in selling EV battery capacity to the grid (regardless of how good the FIT might be). So if the bi-directional charger only works when the grid is connected and working, this setup is pointless for an EV supporting V2H in a blackout. I’m better off spending $11k + installation on more battery capacity.

  10. If you use your EV each day why would you want to run it down overnight to power your house.

    Seems illogical to me.

    • would work well for me. wife semi retired so only occasional trips and my personal car sits at home 90% of the time as i have work ute. Living in Darwin means everything is within 30km. the point is different strokes for different folks

      • Ditto …. we only consume 4-5kWh overnight, which would leave a 20kWh battery at 75% capacity in the morning, and Solar diversion would top that up by 8 or 9am….

        • It’s the usual problem though….Your 5kWh consumption per night at, say, $0.10 per kWh difference between normal usage price and FIT means you save ~$0.50 per day. So it takes ~60 years to pay off the V2G charger. You do get a device that will also charge the car at 7kW so, if you don’t already have that, it could be a perceived additional benefit. I only have the Outlander’s included 2kW charger and sometimes I could use faster charging than 6 hours

          • Yes, good points …. we don’t yet have an EV, and would be very hesitant to pay $10K to be an early adopter of bi-directional charging devices. We’ll have a closer look at the benefit/cost once the charger prices have dropped to $5K or less and will also factor in costs of the alternative [$10K + for a battery]…. optimally ??, we’d like to power our house from the EV when required, but still a long way to go…..

  11. Howard Patrick says

    Seems the Canadian technology, dcBel, is a leader in the V2G space.

    V2G with sodium/sulphur EV batteries and dcBel inter-active technology might be systems of the future?

  12. This is kinda craptacular, along with every other offering from other companies? (chademo in 2023?) We will all be dead and buried before I can upgrade to a solar edge hybrid inverter that can do islanding from a V2H capable EV.

  13. We are considering buying an outlander PHEV, with one reason being the V2H capability. But this article has convinced me that V2H won’t be an option for us unless or until it becomes much easier and cheaper. But hats off to Joseph for his persistence and pioneering. The article has been very helpful.

  14. Robert Vasey says

    The minimum discharge of 1.2kW has got me stumped! Was there any explanation given for this requirement?

    Is it a requirement of the car/battery, the v2g unit or the grid provider?

  15. For years now we have been able to export surplus energy to the grid from our solar panels when the sun is shining. Why then does it require three years of regulatory approval and multiple hurdles to export energy to the grid from our batteries when the sun has gone down?

Speak Your Mind

Please keep the SolarQuotes blog constructive and useful with these 5 rules:

1. Real names are preferred - you should be happy to put your name to your comments.
2. Put down your weapons.
3. Assume positive intention.
4. If you are in the solar industry - try to get to the truth, not the sale.
5. Please stay on topic.

Please solve: 25 + 5 

Get the latest solar, battery and EV charger news straight to your inbox every Tuesday