Ford, BMW, Honda to steer bidirectional EV charging standard

Another load of automakers teams up to lean into the inevitable

If you want to gauge the automotive industry's temperature on electric vehicles, just take a look at the volume of collaborative projects they're all working on, including most recently an initiative from Ford, BMW and Honda's American arm to develop a standard for bidirectional vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging.

The trio will become equal shareholders in a new company called ChargeScape, which they said in a statement will begin operations next year, pending regulatory approval. The goal is to "create a single, cost-effective platform connecting electric utilities, automakers and interested electric vehicle customers."

In other words, they want to develop a shared standard for connecting EVs to the grid for the planned benefit of vehicle owners, manufacturers and utilities. 

ChargeScape was formed to bring V2G charging into the mainstream, which will in turn let the grid sap some stored EV battery juice at times of high demand (with permission), as well as management options that'll restrict EV charging to "grid-friendly" times of day. 

ChargeScape will enable such features by making use of the Open Vehicle-Grid Integration Platform [PDF], which feeds EV information from automakers to power companies to be used for charging management across OEMs. Of course, ChargeScape sees both features as potential payouts for EV owners, who would be compensated for supplying energy, as well as not drawing it, at least that's the theory. 

"Due to the efficient integration with participating automakers and the anticipation of high levels of EV customer enrollment, these energy services are expected to be a cost-efficient, operational benefit for electric utilities," the trio predicted in their press release. 

If ChargeScape's plan sounds familiar, that's because it's a lot like Tesla's plans to use its home energy storage Cyberwall batteries to supply power to the grid to fight blackouts. The key difference between Tesla's plans and ChargeScape, however, is the V2G component, which Musk has expressed disinterest in.

"I don't think very many people are going to want to use bidirectional charging, unless you have a Powerwall, because if you unplug your car, your house goes dark, and this is extremely inconvenient," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at Tesla Investor Day in March. 

Several EVs have been built with V2G, vehicle-to-load and/or vehicle-to-home charging capabilities, but Tesla has yet to include such features on its vehicles. We reached out to Tesla to see if, based on the similarity Powerwall's tech and what ChargeScape is planning to see if it had been invited to help, but haven't heard back. 

"The three founding members welcome other automakers to join in and fully unlock opportunities provided by ChargeScape's grid service offerings once the company is fully operational," the trio said.

Another sign of the times

Looking around the auto industry today, you could be excused for thinking internal combustion vehicles are still the undisputed kings of the road. They may rule for now, but their manufacturers' projects point to an impending end to the ICE era.

Tesla may be doing its own thing with the Powerwall, but it's also been seeking to make some of its tech a national standard with the push for automakers to ditch the Combined Charging System in favor of Tesla's presumptively-named North American Charging Standard. Several automakers have already decided to adopt Tesla's tech, including Ford, GM and the Society of Automotive Engineers. 

The US's notoriously horrible EV charging networks are also getting investment from the likes of General Motors, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, Stellantis and others who announced earlier this year that they were partnering on a nationwide network of 30,000 EV charging stations.

Even Honda, which has been relatively slow to embrace EVs, is part of ChargeScape, the nationwide EV charging network initiative - and has finally partnered with GM to produce EVs on its US partner's Ultium battery platform. 

All these collaborations mean one thing: competitors are aligning to create standards so they can all economically benefit once the dust settles and EVs are a part of daily life. Quite frankly, if even Honda is looking beyond the internal-combustion engine, its days are numbered. ®

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like