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California Bill Would Require Bidirectional Charging for Electric Vehicles

A California bill that would require electric vehicles to be bidirectional is making progress in the state legislature.

Senate Bill 233, Electric vehicles and electric vehicle supply equipment: bidirectional capability, was amended by the state senate on March 20. The bill was introduced by Senator Nancy Skinner on Jan. 24.

The bill, as it now stands, would require that, beginning in model year 2027, all new electric vehicles sold in California are bidirectional capable, including light-duty passenger vehicles and school buses. The bill also would require that all electric vehicle service equipment installed on or after Jan. 1, 2027, be bidirectional capable, except as exempted by the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission.

“Bidirectional capable” in the bill refers to the ability of an electric vehicle to both charge and discharge electricity through electric vehicle service equipment.

California regulations adopted in 2022 require that by 2035 all new vehicles sold in the state are electric. In 2020, the State Air Resources Board adopted the Advanced Clean Truck rule that requires increasing percentages of electric truck sales starting in 2024.

In order to meet the state’s climate goals and “stave off the worst impacts of climate change, we need to supercharge the adoption of electric vehicles,” Skinner said in a statement on her website. “SB 233 will make EVs more attractive to consumers by enabling them to use their car batteries to power their homes.”

Early this year, Skinner also introduced Senate Bill 680 that addresses another issue facing the state’s electric vehicle goals, namely, that electric vehicle prices are “still too high for most consumers.”

“SB 680 will ensure that EVs are more affordable by barring auto dealers from jacking up prices” above the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, Skinner said. Both pieces of legislation would be the first of their kind in the nation, she noted.