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Enphase Shows Off Game-Changing Bidirectional EV Charger

By Aniket Bhor on in Electric Vehicles

Enphase Shows Off Game-Changing Bidirectional EV Charger

Enphase Bidirectional EV Charger

Last year (2022), Ford launched the electric version of their iconic pick-up truck, the F-150. Known as the F-150 Lightning, it created quite a buzz in both the auto and energy sectors. Perhaps the most unique feature of the truck is its ability to power your home using its batteries during an outage. This feature alone is often a decisive factor among people choosing the F-150 over other options.

For ages, we have thought of EVs as just that - electric vehicles. But the fact that these machines can double as energy storage systems completely changes their appeal. And for those of you who are shaking your head saying ‘I’m never spending $100,000 on a vehicle’, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be the Ford truck to double as a battery bank. This is where bidirectional EV chargers come in.

Bidirectional EV chargers are, as the name implies, chargers that can charge the EV battery or discharge it to power your home from it. The most important update about bidirectional chargers is the entry of a mighty solar brand in this product line - Enphase!

But before we talk about Enphase’s new product, let’s understand what bidirectional chargers are.

What are Bidirectional EV Chargers?

A traditional charger is not much different from your laptop or smartphone charger. It takes electricity from your home grid or solar panels, configures it to have the proper voltage and current values, and supplies it to your car. Typical home chargers such as Level 2 (or the older Level 1) chargers simply supply AC power from your home to the car, which converts it into DC power.

A typical Level 2 charger (unidirectional)

Bidirectional chargers do a lot more than that. They pack in an inverter for AC-DC and DC-AC conversion to and from both ends. This brings heating issues, so they also need ventilation systems, with fans and vents. They also require automatic transfer switches to be able to switch the direction of power flow as and when needed. And lastly, the software is more complex, allowing smart control, multiple modes, and other features.

But all this complexity leads to better utility. Aside from charging the EV, bidirectional EV chargers facilitate three different types of energy supply:

Vehicle-to-Home (V2H)

With a bidirectional charger, your car can supply energy to your house in the event of an outage, keeping the essential appliances running. If the vehicle is large enough, like Ford’s truck, you can even power your entire house for days on end. In places with time-of-use pricing, homeowners can even save on electricity bills by charging their car during cheaper hours and using its energy during costlier hours.

Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G)

A bidirectional charger can also allow you to send energy from your car into the grid. This can help generate some revenue (wherever applicable), and even ease the transmission capacity burden during peak hours.

Vehicle-to-Load (V2L)

Although not necessarily a charger feature, the V2L feature allows EVs to power appliances directly. For instance, you can charge your electric bicycle in the middle of a desert with your EV.

V2L EV Charger by BYDBYD V2L Plug. Image Credit: Driven

Vehicles and chargers that are capable of doing all the above three, can be said to have ‘Vehicle-to-Everything’ (V2X) capabilities. It is also important to note that having just a bidirectional EV charger is not sufficient. Not all cars are compatible with such chargers. Among those compatible are the newer version of the Nissan Leaf, some Mitsubishi SUVs, and the Ford F-150 Lightning, which comes with its own bidirectional EV charger - the Ford Charge Station Pro. 

Now that we have some idea about bidirectional chargers, let us go see what Enphase’s bidirectional charger can do. 

Enphase Bidirectional EV Charger

Enphase EV Bidirectional Charger V2H & V2G

Enphase made its entry into the solar power world with its state-of-the-art microinverters, and went on to become the global leader in microinverters. Gradually, the brand entered the battery business, and garnered rave reviews for the batteries too. 

This time, Enphase is going a step further, with its recently demonstrated bidirectional EV charger.

The working principle of the EV charger is somewhat similar to that of hybrid home inverters used in off-grid settings. Like its other products, Enphase employs its tried and tested IQ8 microinverters in the charger. The charger comes with V2H and V2G capabilities, meaning it can

  • power your home during an outage,
  • share energy with the grid, and
  • charge your car with the sun.

enphase bidirectional charger modesEnphase bidirectional charger modes

The ‘Green Mode’ charges the EV only when excess solar power is available, and prioritizes using the available solar energy at home. Besides the above three main modes, the charger also has two other modes:

Savings Mode

In this mode, the Enphase Energy System is configured with the grid tariff and time-of-use information. The EV is charged from the grid when the tariff is low. When the tariff is high, the EV is discharged to support home’s energy needs and reduce import from the grid, thereby minimizing the energy bill.


In this mode, the Enphase Energy System tries to minimize the power import from the grid. When excess solar power is available, it is used to charge the EV. If solar power is less than the home’s power requirement, the EV is discharged to make up the deficit. The Enphase Energy System ensures that no energy is exported back to the grid.

The charger can be monitored and managed using the Enphase app.

As mentioned earlier, the product uses multiple IQ8 microinverters. It also uses Enphase’s reliable ‘Ensemble energy management technology’, which allows the charger to seamlessly integrate into Enphase home energy systems. In other words, Enphase has designed the machine in a way that customers can make it a part of Enphase’s home energy ecosystem. 

If you are curious about the internal mechanism of the charger, here’s a simplified diagram by the company explaining how the device functions:

When Will the Enphase Bidirectional EV Charger be Available in NZ?

As mentioned before, very few cars currently support bidirectional power flow. As such, even with the product ready for launch, it would not be a great idea for the brand to launch it right now. Enphase knows this, and it is waiting for the market to become more favorable. According to the company, it is ‘working with EV manufacturers and utility companies to bring it into the market by early 2024’.

With a rapidly evolving EV market, this one-year timeline does not seem overly ambitious. We can therefore expect the charger to be launched in New Zealand by early or mid-2024.

Other Bidirectional EV Chargers

Enphase may have made headlines with the upcoming charger, but theirs is not the only bidirectional EV charger that’s on (or coming to) the market. Among the other available options, there is Ford’s Charge Station Pro, which we discussed earlier. The Charge Station Pro is built by Siemens, and is currently one of two UL-certified chargers in the US market. The other is Fermata Energy’s FE-15, which comes with similar functionality as the Enphase charger.

Besides these, there are a few other bidirectional chargers on or coming soon to the market. Here’s a list:

  1. Wallbox Quasar and Quasar 2
  2. Rectifier Technologies Highbury
  3. Delta V2H bidirectional charger
  4. Emporia V2H bidirectional charger


Energy storage and electric vehicles are two technologies whose dominance in the coming years is undebatable. And when there can be one machine that serves both purposes, it is sure to grab your attention.

Enphase’s new bidirectional EV charger brings impressive flexibility to your home by allowing you to use your EV as a battery bank, which could separately cost a few thousand dollars. The charger is more than just that - it has excellent features such as smartphone control, and its 5 different modes give you tremendous control over what you want your charger to do.

The only limitation with this machine is the fact that most EVs and some utility companies are not yet prepared for devices like these. But in this fast-changing world, it would be a surprise if bidirectional chargers take long to become commonplace, given the incredible value they can bring!

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