Ford has patented an EV charging adapter that would allow multiple vehicles to top up their batteries from a single power source. First seen by GreenCarReports, the application was initially filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on 23 January and ultimately published on 27 July.
Titled “Charge adaptors for supporting bidirectional energy transfers between multiple energy units,” the patent says that the adapter may enable intelligent charging of multiple vehicles from a single power source through various configurations and strategies, including daisy chain, multiplex, sequential, parallel, and staged.
The images show the adapter would feature multiple relays, a microcontroller, and a wireless communication device, and would act as a pass-through: the wired charging connector would be plugged into the adapter, the adapter would plug into the charging port of a vehicle, and an outlet on the adapter would allow another vehicle to receive power from the charger.
Gallery: Ford patent for adapter that allows charging multiple EVs from a single charger
Furthermore, as it supports bidirectional charging, EVs that are coupled to the energy chain may even discharge their own high-voltage batteries to help increase the state of charge (SoC) of the vehicles that are positioned higher in the priority list set by the fleet manager.
It’s similar to what Rivian’s recent patent for a pass-through charging solution shows, and it’s quite an interesting concept that would be useful in scenarios where a fleet of EVs need to charge from a single power source overnight, in places where charging infrastructure is underdeveloped and can’t be expanded due to technical reasons – maybe the grid doesn’t support a higher power connection to the vehicle depot.
However, where many EVs are interconnected and a lot of electronic components are involved, the risk of something going wrong increases compared to the typical situation where a single EV is being charged from a single charger.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that even if this patent exists, it doesn’t mean the product described in it will ever become a reality, especially seeing how Ford is a rather prolific patent owner, submitting applications for things like a roof-mounted backup battery box for EVs, a portable charging trailer with integrated motors, and even in-road wireless charging tech for EVs.