The electric vehicle charging industry is really beginning to get interesting. When this latest generation of EVs came to market roughly ten years ago electric vehicle supply equipment or EVSE was only capable of delivering electricity safely to the EV, nothing more.
However, that's rapidly changing and we now have smart-chargers that can offer the user remote access to the unit, keep detailed charging history data, can be paired with Amazon Alexa and Google Home for remote services and more. Some smart-chargers like the ChargePoint Home and Enel X JuiceBox can communicate with the utility supplying the power and participate in demand-response programs that can save the EV owner a lot of money in their electric bill.
Now in 2020, we're about to get another option in-home EV charging previously unavailable; a bidirectional DC charger for home use. Wallbox, an EVSE supplier based in Barcelona, Spain, announced that they are bringing their products to the North American market in 2020. Wallbox is already a market leader in Europe and is now expanding and bringing their exciting new products to the US and Canada.
Two of Wallbox's offerings, the Pulsar Plus and the Quasar will land on US shores during 2020 and InsideEVs will be getting early access to these units to test out and offer comprehensive reviews for our readers.
The Pulsar Plus is a 40-amp level 2 EVSE in an extremely compact package. The unit measures only about 6.5" x 6.5", giving it the smallest footprint of any 40-amp EVSE on the market today, and by a wide margin. There's a remote connector holster and the unit is slanted on top to allow the user to coil the cable around it when not in use. The Pulsar Plus will be the first product offered in North America by Wallbox, with additional units to follow.
While I love to tiny, sleek form and high-power of the Pulsar Plus, it's the second product from Wallbox that's coming to the US in 2020 that's really interesting, and that's the Quasar. The Quasar is a DC charger that offers bidirectional capability, meaning it can charge your car and also feed energy from your car's battery to your home.
It is limited to 32-amps (7.4 kW), which is actually lower than what the Pulsar Plus can deliver to the car, but that's not the main point of the Quasar. Having the ability to feed your home during power outages would basically eliminate the need to buy a home energy storage device, like a Tesla Powerwall. Therefore, even at the Quasar's estimated cost of $4,000, it would be a bargain, as long as you can use its bidirectional powers.
Currently, only the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV offer bidirectional capability, so they are the only EVs that could use the Quasar's home-powering ability. However, Doug Alfaro from Wallbox told us that they are speaking with many other manufacturers, and are cautiously optimistic that in the near future, more EVs will have bidirectional capabilities.
Quasar's Key Features and Benefits
- Two-way charging: Wallbox's Quasar is a global first—the first bidirectional charger exclusively for your home with this advanced technology. Previously this bidirectional technology was only available at three times the price in very large formats in pilot projects used in fleet depots. Wallbox's team of engineers found an innovative way to make this technology available for consumers in a sleek and compact size with high efficiency and at a significantly lower price.
- Sustainable consumption: Quasar is also compatible with solar and battery storage systems to bring the ultimate optimization between your home, vehicle, renewable energy generation, and the grid. It offers the unique possibility to store excess energy in your EV, and use it when you need it.
- Saves you money long-term: Quasar brings new technology to the home and is also the only charger to be able to provide a return on investment over time by optimizing when and how you use your energy or by providing energy services to the utility grid similar to how solar panels can generate a payback for the energy put back into the grid.
- Control with an app: Quasar works with a mobile app (iOS and Android) and energy management platform that helps you manage your bidirectional usage. It works in tandem with your utility grid and your energy management system in your home (thermostat, lights, etc.). As a Quasar owner, you can easily set parameters on how much you want your EV battery to be used so that you never have to worry about your car being completely drained.
- Easy to access with facial recognition, touchscreen and gesture recognition: Quasar also features optional advanced facial recognition and gesture control technology which is convenient for access, allowing you security and the flexibility to propagate accounts to friends and neighbors. In addition to facial recognition, Quasar can also authenticate using Bluetooth proximity, the Wallbox app, and RFID.
I've actually spoken with representatives from a number of EV OEMs and the main issue they have with vehicle to home (V2H) or vehicle to grid (V2G) access, is the warranty they provide for the battery. The manufacturer's warranty is designed to protect the owner from defects or premature wear while using the battery for its intended purpose, to power the car. If you are using the battery to power your home, then the OEM needs to look at the warranty differently because they don't want to be responsible for this excessive wear and tear.
Sure, if you used it once or twice a year when you have a power outage then it wouldn't be a problem. But what if people started filling up their batteries overnight to take advantage of low electricity rates and then used their car to power their home all day, every day? Would that be fair to the OEM who's offering the battery warranty? Personally, I think this is a legitimate concern for the OEMs, but one that will be worked out.
So, what do you think? Would you spring $4,000 for a home charger that would offer you the capability to power your home when needed? Let us know in the comment section below.