Some new EVs offer what is called vehicle-to-load, or V2L, which allows them to charge other electric vehicles, power electrical equipment, and act as a backup generator when homes lose power. Ford’s recent patent application shows a different, slightly more complicated approach to sharing electric power, this time relating to charging multiple vehicles from a single point.
Ford’s patent application gives an overview of a bidirectional charging system that involves plugging a vehicle to charge and using adapters to add more vehicles to the “chain.” The setup would use the first vehicle’s charging port to send electricity through the adapter and a cable to another vehicle. Ford’s patent diagrams show three vehicles connected to the system, though we don’t know how many can be connected simultaneously.
While the EV-as-a-generator concept isn’t novel, the ability to charge multiple vehicles on a single plug is. The development could be a significant benefit to fleet owners, who could charge several units without needing to install dozens of chargers at a location. That could also be a boon for remote job sites that can’t set up permanent charging locations.
Since we’re just talking about a patent application, there’s a non-zero chance that this tech never makes it to market. Current rules don’t allow charging cable extension cords, but there doesn’t seem to be a problem with allowing EVs to link up at a single charging point.
Charging remains one of the auto industry’s toughest nuts to crack, thanks to the costs involved and the United States’ vast size. Several major automakers have banded together and promised to build a robust network of fast chargers, and many others have opted to join Tesla’s Supercharger network. A significant number of new EVs will come with the automaker’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) starting next year, including models from Ford, General Motors, Honda, and Polestar.