Ford is seeking to patent a system that allows its electric vehicles (EVs) to share power with households during power outages.
The system uses bidirectional energy transfer between EVs and structures, rationing energy in waves to extend appliance operation during outages. It is controlled by a cloud-based module connected to the vehicle’s battery pack and takes into account factors such as total energy requirement, available energy in the car, user preferences, and power outage estimates. The system offers different strategies for rationing power, including multiple levels of rationing transmission, time-based intervals, and direct communication with smart appliances.
The increasing adoption of EVs poses challenges to the US power grid, but effective load management tactics like charging at night when demand is low can help alleviate strain. Utility companies can also implement “Time of Use” programs to encourage collective charging with minimal impact on the grid. Ford’s patent could address another threat to the grid caused by extreme weather events due to climate change by allowing EVs to provide power during hurricanes or heatwaves. This technology could replace traditional generators, which are not environmentally friendly.
While bidirectional power capabilities exist for EVs, they are not yet commercially available or widely deployed. However, Ford’s interest in this technology is seen as a positive step towards enabling vehicle-to-grid capability.
Ford has ambitious goals for EV manufacturing and has sought patents for various EV-related innovations. By the end of 2023, Ford aims to produce 600,000 EVs annually and increase this number to 2 million by the end of 2026.
Ford’s patent application for a system that enables EVs to share power during outages aligns with its commitment to electric mobility and sustainability.