Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle

Your electric bike could charge your home

Imagine riding home from work on your electric motorbike, then plugging it into the mains where it then helps charge your house?

Or running out of power and being able to recharge your bike off another electric vehicle so you are not stranded on the roadside?

Researchers at Sydney’s Macquarie University have developed a bidirectional intelligent charging device that will do just that.

Now they are looking to take their charging system to market.

Lead researcher at the uni’s School of Engineering, Dr Seyedfoad Taghizadeh, tells us their bidirectional charger would suit electric motorcycles as well as other electric vehicles.

“We have built the laboratory prototype of the device, and currently working to reduce its size to be acceptable for commercialisation,” the Doc says.

“The size of the device can be reduced to be applied for both cars and motorbikes, although this requires financial support from an investor/manufacturer.”

Power grid issues

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Power back to the grid

One of the biggest concerns about mandating a proportion of new vehicles as electric is the load they might have on an already overstretched power grid.

However, Dr Taghizadeh points out that this charger would have the opposite effect and a actually support the electricity grid.

“Our charger creates less anxiety on the power network than existing systems,” he says.

In some ways it is like the Nissan Leaf electric car charger that puts power back into the grid and only charges when there is low load on the grid.

If there were a lot of these electric vehicles putting power back into the grid during early evening peak load times, it would prevent brownouts.

“It means that for houses that rely on batteries for storage, the fully charged vehicle is also capable of feeding power in the other direction, thus becoming a back-up system,” the Doc says. 

“Furthermore, while the device is used for charging/discharging the electric vehicle at home, it is capable of improving the power quality of the local power grid (household grid) via reducing the harmonics and improving the voltage profile of the local grid.

“The device uses an advanced control system which minimises the output transients of the chargers operation.”

Electric boost

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This is yet another step toward making electric vehicles more appealing to motorists.

Last week we reported on Canadian battery company GBatteries working on a battery that recharge an electric motorcycle in about five minutes.

And last month we published an article about Deakin University research that makes lithium-ion batteries smaller, lighter and less likely to burst into flame.

Together with electric motorcycles now having up to 400km of range, the case for electric motorcycles is becoming more and more appealing.

Now they just have to reduce their price and give them a decent note!

  1. “….Imagine riding home from work on your electric motorbike, then plugging it into the mains where it then helps charge your house?….”

    Surely you meant to write the opposite: plug the motorcycle into the mains and recharge its battery? otherwise next time you want to ride it won’t go anywhere 😉

    1. Hi,
      Read the story all the way through.
      When you plug it in in the early evening it adds to the grid, but recharges later on in the night when the electricity costs less and there is less load on the system.

      1. OK, I get it.
        However at the current battery capacities of electric motorcycles (HD LiveWire for example at 15kWh) one can get not a lot of benefit from using its battery to mitigate the peak load demand on the grid. Assuming that after the daily use of commuting there is hopefully still half-charge left in the battery (7kWh), how far would that go to run an AirCon? or cook a roast dinner?
        The sticky point preventing wide adaptation of electric vehicles remains the battery: too heavy, too bulky and too expensive to replace when it wears out. Until battery technology will dramatically improve I think that the uptake of electric vehicles will remain a non competitive alternative for the average consumer.

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