Aftermarket EV adapter company Lectron recently introduced its own Vehicle to Load (V2L) connector for the Hyundai Ioniq 5. This connector allows you to draw 120-volt power, like you’d find in a common US household power receptacle, directly from the car’s battery pack. Lectron didn’t invent the system, but once I go over some basic information about the Hyundai V2L system, I’ll go over Lectron’s take on this cool accessory.
Hyundai’s V2L System
The IONIQ 5’s E-GMP platform can support both 400V and 800V charging infrastructures as standard, without the need for additional components or adapters. The multi-charging system is a world’s first patented technology that operates the motor and inverter to boost 400V to 800V for stable charging compatibility. IONIQ 5 can charge up to 80% in only 18 minutes with a 350-kW charger. According to WLTP, users need to charge the vehicle for five minutes to get 100 km of range.
But, the platform has another little trick up its sleeve that’s just as cool as charging super duper fast: an innovative V2L function, which allows customers to freely use or charge any electric devices, such as electric bicycles, scooters, or camping equipment. This make it like a charger on wheels.
The V2L function gives a max of 3.6 kW power and is situated under the second-row seats; it can be turned on when the car is running. There’s another V2L port located at the charging station externally on the vehicle that provides charge to high-power electric equipment when using a converter — even if the car is off.
Here’s a YouTube video by the company explaining how to use the system properly:
What makes this system super cool is how you can use it without tapping into the 12-volt system. Sure, you can add a power outlet to just about any EV by drawing power from the smaller battery under the hood, but there’s a hard limit on how much power you can draw from the battery before the EV’s charging inverter can’t keep up. This will result in your 12-volt battery going dead. Plus, there’s questions over how much use that inverter system can take before failure.
The Ioniq’s system doesn’t rely on that 12-volt inverter, though. Instead, it supplies AC power from the pack through what is probably a much more robust system, with a maximum power that’s a lot more than most 12-volt charging systems provide.
The system was cool enough to win an award. In 2021, The IONIQ 5 Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) capability was awarded a Popular Science Best of What’s New Award in the Automotive Category. A panel of expert judges and editors from Popular Science select the distinguished award.
“Hyundai is honored to have the all-new IONIQ 5 awarded a 2021 Popular Science Best of What’s New Award in the Auto Category for its Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) functionality,” said Olabisi Boyle, vice president, product planning and mobility strategy, Hyundai Motor North America. “With IONIQ 5’s cutting-edge V2L technology serving as a charger on wheels, drivers can now power their electrical devices, tailgate parties, camping trips, homes during power outages, and even other stranded EVs.”
Hyundai’s V2L Dongle
The official factory adapter for using V2L outside of the car isn’t cheap. If you pick it up at Hyundai Shop, it’ll cost you about $550.
But, when you consider what it usually takes to extract power from a battery pack, it’s not an altogether terrible deal. It outputs a maximum of 15 amps, or 1800 watts. Getting a 12-volt inverter, the wiring, and the labor to hook all that up amounts to a pretty hefty cost. This thing? You can just plug it in and go.
Plus, it has a feature that grabs onto the end of whatever cord you plug into it, keeping it from coming out at the worst time. Plus, it probably has some safety features that you wouldn’t get from a DIY inverter job.
But, as of this writing, the Hyundai Shop says these are on backorder with no shipping ETA. Damn.
Lectron’s Alternative V2L Adapter Is A LOT Cheaper
If $550 and not knowing when it’ll ship sounds like a bad deal to you, Lectron has some good news. Instead of paying that much, they’ll sell you their version of this adapter for $150 (on sale for $130 as of this writing). Plus, they’re promising to ship it fast in early December 2022 (2-3 weeks from this writing at most).
From what I can see, it only appears to have one feature missing compared to the $550 Hyundai OEM adapter: the cool cord-grabbing lock on the back. The Lectron adapter does have a cover, but it doesn’t click around the cord when plugged in. While Hyundai doesn’t claim that its is water resistant, and even says to not use it in the rain, it looks like it would be more water resistant than the Lectron unit.
The Bigger Question: Why Aren’t More Manufacturers Doing This?
Whether you buy the adapter from Hyundai or from Lectron, there’s one big unavoidable problem: it only works with the Hyundai Ioniq 5. If you plug this thing into any other EV, nothing happens. Well, I hope that it’s nothing that happens. There’s the possibility something bad could happen, but that seems unlikely.
With all of the energy storage capability EV have, being able to pull power from your EV’s battery is an obvious thing people will want. Camping trips, power outages at home, jobsites without power, and many other situations make things like this super useful. Ford does this with the F-150 Lightning and Hybrids, and a few other manufacturers offer some kind of power capability. But, most EVs don’t have any easy way for someone to just plug in and use the battery if they need to.
I don’t see why all manufacturers don’t at least offer some kind of accessory that allows you to do this easily. It shouldn’t cost that much to supply a 120-volt circuit with 15 amps of power. It shouldn’t cost much more to supply 3 kW. Even better, it’s something that can be offered as an option, so the customer ultimately pays for it.
Featured image: a screenshot from Lectron’s website showing their V2L adapter in action.
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