Volvo invests in bidirectional EV charging startup for an all-in-one renewable energy ecosystem

On Wednesday, Volvo Cars revealed a new investment in bidirectional EV charging startup dcbel. The company’s “r16” Home Energy Station is a full-fledged renewable energy ecosystem featuring solar power, bidirectional charging capabilities for backup power, and a smart home energy management system.

After being the first major premium car brand to commit to a full hybrid or EV lineup for all its models, Volvo aims to sell one million electrified cars by 2025.

Volvo’s first fully electric car, the XC40 Recharge, was launched in 2019, followed by the C40 Recharge, a smaller and lighter crossover version, in March 2021. Between the two models, Volvo saw fully electric sales rise 157% in the first three months of 2023, reaching 18% of total car sales.

The Swedish EV maker plans to launch at least one new electric vehicle each year until mid-decade, including the upcoming EX90 and its smallest SUV yet, the EX30, set for its global debut on June 7 to continue expanding into new segments.

With at least half of Volvo’s sales expected to be fully electric by 2025, the company aims to enhance the ownership experience. Its latest investment in bidirectional EV charging startup dcbel will give buyers a complete home energy management solution.

Bidirectional EV charging coming to Volvo models

Through its venture capital firm Volvo Cars Tech Fund, Volvo announced it would support dcbel’s research and development (R&D) and go-to-market endeavors for its home energy system.

The system automates home energy management by converting solar power from rooftop photovoltaics and storing it in stationary battery storage.

Owners can also leverage the bidirectional charging to send energy from a Volvo EV back to their homes to save on utility costs during peak hours (vehicle-to-home) or be compensated for selling it back to the grid (vehicle-to-grid). It also supports charging two EVs simultaneously.

The dcbel r16 Home Energy Station is a complete solution, replacing the following equipment:

  • Fast DC bidirectional EV charger
  • Level 2 EV charger
  • Solar Inverter
  • Stationary battery charger
  • Smart home energy manager

Alexander Petrofski, CEO of Volvo Cars Tech Fund, explains how “Home Energy Management Systems will play a vital role as we move towards bi-directionality of electric vehicles,” saying:

Rising energy prices coupled with frequent blackouts are challenges faced by consumers today and our investment in dcbel and their technology can help alleviate those challenges for our customers.

Customers who purchase dcbel’s home energy system will have the option to customize and buy their vehicle and renewable energy in one bundle online. Once active, homeowners can view and control their energy through the smartphone app, with it updating every five minutes to calculate the best ways to use, store, or sell their home energy.

Volvo already said its upcoming EX90 would be the brand’s first electric car with bidirectional EV charging capabilities.

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