A Kia EV 6 has been put to the test by Norwegian EV reviewer Ståle Frydenlund, who took the electric crossover on a “fricamping” trip to see if its two-way charging capabilities could be used to power a caravan.
“Fricamping” is the Norwegian term for camping for free, out in the open at off-site locations. In New Zealand the practice is known as “freedom camping.”
In Australia it is also simply known as free camping, although only in certain locations designated for the practice. Often there are few if any facilities at these locations, in particular access to electricity.
“You have probably seen someone using a Kia EV6 or a Hyundai Ioniq 5 as a battery bank to make waffles,” Frydenlund says in the video you can view in full below (translated from Norwegian.)
“You can bring a hairdryer with you. You can bring a work lamp along. Bit of everything. In other words: You can plug this car to many devices that you otherwise use at home, such as a coffee machine.
“But in this test we are going to take it a long way further,” he says, explaining that V2L stands for “vehicle to load” – or, in this case, “vehicle to caravan.”
The Kia EV6, which is available in Australia from $72,590, comes with an external port adapter that allows for a maximum power draw of 3.6 kilowatts – more than enough to power a large appliance such as a dryer plus other auxiliary items. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 also has the same ability, having been built on the same e-GMP platform from the carmakers’ parent company.
Powering a caravan with a Kia EV6 electric crossover
Arriving at their chosen destination, Frydenlund parks the car up alongside the left of the caravan. This means the V2L port on the car is close enough to plug in the caravan without the need for an extension cord.
He goes on to switch on the waffle machine, which he notes draws 900 watts (0.9 kW) from the car battery.
“Then do the math on how long you can keep making waffles drawing this amount of power. Now we’ll see. It’s time for waffles!” he says.
As Frydenlund notes, “Along the way we used the heat we needed, and sure enough, it drew 2.2 kilowatts (kW) of power from the battery pack.
“And in the knowledge that we have a 73-74 kWh available in the battery pack in the car, it means that you can actually stay for well over 30 hours at “full heat throttle”.”
“Alternatively, you can use air conditioning, which the caravan is also equipped with, and then you do not draw more than 700-800 watts
to keep the temperature at 17-19 degrees.”
He notes that the caravan has a gas hob, and it would have been smart to buy an induction stove, which draw very little power, for use when cooking instead.
Driving to a camp in the mountains will use up power too
Yes, using the EV6 battery to power the camp means planning to get there with some charge left, Frydenlund notes.
“If you are going to free camp and travel in somewhat demanding topography, as we have done, there have been some mountain passes, then it requires a bit of planning. If you drive on steep, scenic roads, it consumes a lot of energy.
“So if you intend to stay for a few days in a very beautiful place, it’s a good idea to recharge the car properly in advance,” he says.
To ensure the use of V2L doesn’t drain the battery, the EV6 has a discharge setting that can limit its use.
“Here, in the car, I can set the lowest discharge level for the battery pack when it is used for V2L. The lowest is 20 per cent, which amounts to 14-15 kilowatt hours,” says Frydenlund.
“During our test it would last 30-50 kilometres depending on the topography and how flat it is. If it is flat, the energy will last for longer distances. If it is steep, you have to calculate more.”
As Frydenlund notes, what goes up must come down. If you camp up in the hills, you’ll be able to rely on recovering charge back to the battery as you drive back down the mountain. Figures for this drive will be published soon at elbil.no.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model Y and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.