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What is Vehicle to Load or V2L?

Battery on wheels.

We first came across this term, Vehicle to Load, or V2L, when the BYD Atto 3 was launched in Singapore. One of the images that stuck in our mind was that of the battery electric vehicle (BEV) powering a refrigerator. With the recent launch of the BYD Dolphin, another model with V2L, we decided to look at this feature that is increasingly seen in newer fully electric vehicles.

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BYD Atto 3 comes with V2L that can power a fridge

What is Vehicle to Load or V2L?

Vehicle to Load is a function that enables you to charge various electric appliances or devices directly using the energy stored in your electric car’s battery pack. To put it simply, V2L allows you to use your EV as a large power bank or a mobile electricity hotspot.

At the moment, V2L is only available in a few electric vehicles, such as the aforementioned BYD Atto 3 and BYD Dolphin. But it is expected to become more common as more electric cars hit the road.

How do I use V2L?

Depending on the model, you can power your devices using the V2L adaptor that connects to the EV’s charging port and which acts like a power socket. Some models also come with a 3-pin port located within the vehicle.

The occasional use of V2L to charge small appliances and devices will not drain your battery very quickly. However, to reduce your anxiety, there are some EV models that allow you to automatically deactivate the V2L function if your car battery dips below a set minimum level.

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How useful is V2L?

When an EV is parked, its battery is not being used. In this case, having V2L allows you to unlock the stored energy in your EV battery as an alternative power source. It can then be used for other activities such as charging your laptop, or heating up a kettle during a camping trip.

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The BYD Dolphin has a V2L of 3.3kW max output

Can I power my entire house with V2L?

V2L can only supply a limited amount of continuous power, usually 2-4 kilowatts (depending on the model). Therefore, it cannot charge too many devices or appliances at a single time. As an example, a small toaster oven typically consumes 1-2 kW. A kettle would be around 2kW. As such, you can only power a few small appliances at the same time.

That said, there are efforts to look at Vehicle to Home (V2H) technology, so the potential to power a house is always a future possibility.

How about charging another EV?

It is possible to charge another EV using V2L. But remember that the amount of power output will still be limited to the power rating of the V2L port. If we are talking a rate of 2-4kWs, then it will take quite a long time to recharge another EV.

Nonetheless, it is a handy feature that allows you to help another EV driver who might be low on battery. Though the trickle-charging is slow, it might give the other driver enough juice to get to the nearest charging station.

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