Report: V2L, nomadic electricity, practical?

The advent of the electric car gives us the opportunity to produce different types of reporting. Test fast charging for long distances to Germany or England; try to cover the greatest distance on a single charge, charge on the Tesla network with competing models, compare the fast charging experience on different infrastructures, etc. This time, it’s a feature intended to be extended to the electric models we wanted to test: the V2L function. Or the possibility of powering an external electrical device from the vehicle’s battery.

Cargo vehicle

It was with the first mass-market electric brake that we experimented: the MG 5. In this case, the model is standard compatible with the V2L function, but this is not always the case. On the new Kia e-Niro, for example, you have to pay a supplement of €1,500 for access versions.

To use this function, there is sometimes a 220 volt outlet directly on board the vehicle. But you often also need to connect a device directly to the vehicle’s external charging port. This is the case with the MG: you connect an accessory, supplied in a suitcase, the end of which simply takes the form of a power strip.

“limited” power

Depending on the vehicle, the permissible output power varies. In the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5, for example, we can consume up to 3,600 W. In the case of our MG5, we will have to settle for 2,200 W. Which, when we need electricity in the middle of nowhere, can however already prove to be quite practical. …

Test number 1: the laptop

This lets you, for example, recharge your camera battery on vacation or power your laptop while on a business trip. Specifically, the V2L accessory is connected to the vehicle’s charging port, the computer’s power plug is inserted into the power strip, and then the battery’s “discharge” is validated via the vehicle’s touchscreen. The computer power supply announcing a power of only 65 W, obviously works without problems…

Note that you can, for safety, set a limit for battery discharge. Story to still have enough juice in your car to go out… But there’s scope anyway. With an 83% full battery and a discharge limit set at 50%, our MG5 “Long Autonomy” (61.1 kWh) even announced the possibility of letting our computer recharge for 17 hours.

On the practical side, for this type of use, we would still like to be able to have a 220 volt outlet directly in the passenger compartment (as is the case with the Hyundai Ioniq 5, for example). Fortunately, the sun was shining during our little experiment. But it’s hard to see the power strip outside in the rain, with our computer’s cable running through a half-open window…

Test number 2: the impact drill

This problem is less relevant for using a portable tool if you plan to work outside… Our hammer’s datasheet advertises a power of 750 W. And in this case too, the power supply worked without the slightest problem even after several intensive testing.

Test number 3: the kettle

The MG5 being equipped with roof racks, we could have renewed our nomadic camping experience, with a tent on the roof. The V2L function would have been very practical to prepare a morning coffee or tea! Note that with this type of appliance, however, we are approaching the limit authorized by the MG5, as our kettle advertises a power range between 1,850 and 2,200 W.

However, the test proved equally conclusive: the water heated up in a few minutes. The only difference with our lower consumers: the estimated usage time by the car with the same usage limit dropped to just under 8 hours. That still leaves time to heat up many liters of water…

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