Thought Leadership

Long Road Ahead for Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) Adoption

February 21, 2024
An image of a father, mother and child charging a BEV at home while checking out something on their smart phone.

The prospect of an energy ecosystem centered on battery electric vehicles (BEVs) offers automakers a new way to sell consumers on the value of a BEV. It also makes it easier for electric utilities to manage their grids in a world where intermittent renewable resources constitute an ever-increasing share of power generation. But our latest EVForward® Charging Experience DeepDive found that, at present, awareness of—and openness to—the technology is lagging.

The EVForward Charging Experience DeepDive report examines consumer attitudes toward and experiences with BEV charging. The recent study uncovered a wide range of findings about the BEV charging experience at home and on the road, including new insight into the well-documented concerns and frustrations with public charging.

The study also examined sentiments toward emerging vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities. The results suggest that, for many consumers, these technologies only deepen long-standing anxieties around battery life and replacement cost.

Cautious Optimism Toward V2X—And Cause for Concern

Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) programs don’t just provide benefits to vehicle owners—they could also contribute to a more resilient energy ecosystem. V2G programs facilitate a bidirectional flow between BEVs and the power grid. This allows BEV owners to sell power back to the grid during periods of high demand. Along with offsetting energy demand, this could promote further integration of renewable energy infrastructure into the grid.

Meanwhile, V2H capabilities allow BEV owners to use their vehicles as emergency power sources during an outage. When asked about V2H, buyers indicated cautious optimism. According to our data, the feature has a +23 net positive impact on BEV purchase intention, a figure that rises to +46 among electric vehicle purchase intenders.

However, while respondents like the idea of having a backup power source for emergencies, many are concerned about the effect on the BEV battery. Some doubt the BEV battery could power the home for an extended period. Others worry they would be left without a working vehicle after draining the BEV’s power reserves.

Making a Case for V2G

A narrow majority of consumers (56%) told Escalent they would be somewhat likely or likely to use a V2G program. Those in favor cited the financial advantage of selling excess power as their primary motivator. However, as with V2H, respondents are worried about wear and tear on the BEV battery.

Based on our calculations, if a utility company offered a $1/kWh premium for exported power, then BEV owners would need to send 14 charge cycles to the grid each year to break even on the cost of installing a bidirectional charger. This is the equivalent to adding roughly 3,000 miles to the vehicle battery annually. These calculations are based on average figures around battery capacity, length of vehicle ownership, and the cost to install a bidirectional charger.

To get vehicle buyers on board with the concept, utility companies need to help new-car buyers understand the economics of V2G by making a clear financial case for selling power back to the grid. There is also an opportunity here for automakers to address any anxiety about the impact on battery life by creating and communicating vehicle warranties that cover V2X applications.

Consumer Appetite for Cost-Savings With BEVs and V2X

Utility companies and automakers shouldn’t underestimate consumer concerns about the cost of installing a home charger—the leading concern among new-car buyers (61%)—and the cost of charging the vehicle itself. More than half (57%) of respondents told Escalent they are worried about the cost of charging their BEV at home. Fifty-four percent said the same about using public direct current fast chargers (DCFCs), and 50% for public level two chargers.

In-line with these findings, utility-led efforts to offset the cost of BEV charging have proven popular among consumers. The majority of respondents told us they would be likely to use programs that reduce energy prices based on time of use (79%), green power (73%) or demand response (70%). In addition, 76% said they would opt in to a program that offered discounted rates for charging with a specific charge point operator. This enthusiasm for cost-savings suggests one promising avenue for framing the advantages of V2X programs to vehicle shoppers.

On the other hand, in the case of both V2G and V2H, up-front cost is a hurdle. When asked if they would use their BEV’s V2H feature if installing a home integration system cost $11,000 (which is the average price we found upon conducting secondary market research), respondents balked at the price tag. Only 19% said they would be at least somewhat likely to use the technology in this scenario.

Our data show an appetite for V2H, but to tap into this, utilities and automakers need to home in on what consumers are willing to pay and find creative ways to reduce the cost of equipment and installation.

Crafting a New Narrative About the Value of V2X

While the vast majority of BEV owners said they have never run out of charge, anxiety around the range and longevity of BEV batteries is frequently cited by consumers as a barrier to BEV adoption. Automakers and utility companies risk exacerbating these concerns if they fail to position V2H and V2G effectively. As such, they must develop engaging value propositions that emphasize the advantages of V2H and V2G while debunking common misconceptions about BEV batteries.

With just one in four vehicle buyers being somewhat or very familiar with V2H and fewer than one in five with V2G, there is a need for robust marketing efforts to raise awareness of the programs and their advantages. But this also provides an opportunity. Since many consumers know little or nothing about the technology, utilities and automakers have a chance to craft a compelling narrative about V2X.

V2H and V2G both offer capabilities that resonate with vehicle buyers. However, to harness the potential of V2X, utility companies and automakers must align their messaging more closely with consumer desires and needs. By showing how V2X capacities can help rather than hinder the BEV ownership experience, companies can foster greater acceptance of—and enthusiasm for—the technology, paving the way for broader BEV adoption.

If you are interested in learning more about our BEV research findings or talking about how we can help you reach consumers with your V2X offerings, please click the button below.

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K.C. Boyce
K.C. Boyce
Vice President, Automotive & Mobility and Energy

K.C. Boyce is a vice president in Escalent’s Automotive & Mobility and Energy practices. He works with energy providers and automakers to craft compelling products and programs that accelerate the energy transition. Throughout his career, K.C. has worked across industries and sectors to develop innovative solutions to complex problems and translate subject matter expertise into actionable insight. He is the co-host of the weekly Energy Matters radio show and a nationally known speaker on topics such as electric vehicles and solar. Before joining Escalent, K.C. was senior vice president at Chartwell, where he led industry and consumer research, conference production and marketing. He also served as the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative’s assistant director, leading its consumer research program. K.C. holds an MBA from Georgia State’s Robinson College of Business and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado College.

Nikkie Stern, Senior Insights Manager, Escalent
Nikki Stern
Senior Insights Manager, Automotive & Mobility

Nikki Stern is a senior insights manager on the Automotive & Mobility team with Escalent. She is dedicated to EVForward® projects, which provide clients with valuable consumer research to better understand the next generation of EV buyers. Nikki supports the research from beginning to end, starting with the development of a research idea and following the project through survey development, fielding, data analysis, and reporting. Before joining Escalent, Nikki worked with a marketing agency as an analyst where she gained over seven years of experience working on multiple pieces of the business, including market research, consumer research, and cross-channel digital media analytics. She has a bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College in Sociology/Anthropology and a graduate certificate from Harvard Extension School in Corporate Sustainability & Innovation. Outside of work, Nikki is an avid yoga practitioner and teaches classes as well.