Skip to main content

In America, houses charge EVs. At CES 2020, EVs charge houses

This story is part of our continuing coverage of CES 2020, including tech and gadgets from the showroom floor.

EVs are everywhere at CES 2020, but the stations that charge them are are seldom worthy of your attention. Typically, they’re simply utilitarian plastic boxes with rubber cables trailing out of them. The best they can do is stay out of the way and quietly fuel up the real stars of the show.

That’s not the case with the new Wallbox Quasar, unveiled at CES 2020. First, it’s probably the only EV charger that qualifies as “attractive.” Second, it allows your car to power your house. Yes, your EV has enough juice to run your house.

While the Quasar isn’t the first bidirectional charger on the market, it’s one of very few right now, and the first designed for residential use. That means that when the power goes out, the EV sitting in your driveway suddenly becomes a backup battery on wheels, keeping your TV running, your Wi-Fi live, and your refrigerator cold.

wallbox quasar bidirectional EV charger
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If that sounds like a quick way to drain your EV and strand yourself at home with no power, you may be surprised how far an EV’s “tank” can stretch in the home setting. The average American household uses about 29 kilowatt hours of electricity per day, and a battery like the one in Tesla’s Model Y Long Range packs in 74 kilowatt hours. That means you could power your home for two days straight without flinching, and probably many more by dialing back usage.

Consider other possibilities. If you have solar panels on your roof that generate more electricity than you can use, you can bank them in your EV and draw them out at night when the sun doesn’t shine. If you live in an area that prices electricity lower at night, you can fill your car at night and run your house from it during the day. In Portland, Oregon, where Digital Trends is headquartered, you pay 12.6 cents for a kilowatt of electricity during the day and 4.2 cents at night.

There is one major catch, though: You can’t use the Quasar with the Model Y right now. Or the Chevy Volt. Or the Ford Mach E, for that matter. Unfortunately, you can use it with only three cars: The Nissan Leaf, the Nissan e-NV200, and the Mitsubishi Outlander.

That’s because only these Japanese EVs support the relatively uncommon CHAdeMO charging standard the Quasar uses and is the only charging standard that supports bidirectional charging right now. While Tesla is working on a communication standard for its proprietary chargers that would allow them to also support bidirectional charging, Wallbox suggested it would be at least 2021 until it’s ironed out.

So no, you probably don’t need to run out and spend $4,000 on the Wallbox Quasar when it comes out later this year. And Wallbox says the bidirectional charging won’t be live at launch anyway — it will be added on later. But it’s still a glimpse at the grid of the future — and a sharp-looking one at that.

Follow our live blog for more CES news and announcements.

Editors' Recommendations

Nick Mokey
As Digital Trends’ Managing Editor, Nick Mokey oversees an editorial team delivering definitive reviews, enlightening…
How to charge your electric car at home
Close up of the Hybrid car electric charger station with power supply plugged into an electric car being charged.

One of the biggest perks to owning an electric car is charging it in the comfort of your own home, rather than requiring stops at a gas station every week or so. That means that if you stay on top of charging, and don’t take super long trips, you’ll never really have to worry about when and where to "fill up."

But there are a number of ways to charge up at home, and they’re not all for everyone. In fact, some options are far better than others — and getting the right charging gear for your needs is definitely worth doing.

Read more
What to expect at CES 2023, from mondo TVs to EVs
The futuristic Aska eVTOL quadcopter will take off and land vertically, like a drone.

Break out the champagne and roll out the red carpets, CES is back! After two rough, COVID-addled years that saw the world’s greatest tech show reduced to a shell of its former self, the show is primed to spring back to its former glory for 2023. And our team of writers and editors will be on the ground in Las Vegas, bringing it all to you.

But much has changed since the last “normal” CES of 2020. The economy has boomed and busted, supply chains have knotted, and attitudes over excess have shifted as climate change looms larger and larger in our global conversation. And as always, the tech itself has marched forward, rising to the challenges of our new post-COVID lives.

Read more
CES 2023-bound Ram Revolution concept previews electric pickup
ram revolution electric pickup details unveiling date concept teaser feature image

Ram wants to plant its stake in the growing electric pickup segment its main rivals are already present in. The company will travel to CES 2023 to unveil a concept called Revolution designed to preview a battery-powered truck tentatively scheduled to make its debut in 2024.

While the Revolution's full design remains under wraps, a preview video published on Facebook suggests the pickup won't borrow styling cues from the current crop of Ram trucks. It's described as looking "fierce, slick, and heroic." From what we can tell, the Revolution's front end will be characterized by a pair of two-piece LED headlights, a massive "RAM" logo, and a hood that's lower than we're used to seeing on Ram trucks. Keeping the hood line relatively low is likely a way to make the truck more aerodynamic and in turn, improve its driving range.

Read more