Breakfast’s up! Family takes Hyundai Ioniq 5 camping to try out V2L

When the Kenricks set out on their electrification journey, they originally intended to buy an electric Volkswagen ID.4 or Skoda Enyaq IV.

But with the delay in these vehicles reaching Australia, it ended up being the Hyundai Ioniq 5 that caught their attention.

The generous space, 800-volt architecture allowing ultra-fast DC charging and suite of safety features all added up to a suitable vehicle for their growing family.

But it was the addition of vehicle-to-load technology (known for short as V2L) that intrigued them most, and led to them taking a “test camp” journey recently to try it out ahead of a longer planned trip.

Brody Kenrick shares his experience and learnings.

What started you on the path to buying an electric vehicle?

My wife and I have taken our household (with two small boys) on a journey to become carbon-negative, and to have as small an absolute emission as possible, over the last couple of years.

We are doing it from the self-concerned aspect of our nuclear family to not be part of the climate crisis problem and hoping our experiences can serve to show what is possible and also what is sensible for others that are not in a position to do what we have.

To that carbon-negative goal we have gone all electric in our lives (EV, house heating, water heating, stove and the luxury of a heat pump pool heater, a house battery and rather oversized PV setup – all of which have excessive consumption monitoring and automation).

We also minimize our day-to-day emissions as best we can through purchasing as often as we can buying carbon neutral and low emissions companies.

Then we are tracking all our scope 1,2 and 3 emissions and staying negative (we bought shares in the Grong Grong solar farm to help also).

Why did you buy an Ioniq 5, other than for its ability to provide power?

We were looking to upsize from a smallish hatch (Ford Focus) after our second child. It was going to be an EV but we were just waiting for the right one to come on the market.

Our main concern was size, for our family. We wanted something big enough to throw scooters/bikes in the back and to get away on small road trips as both my wife’s parents and mine live in the country. Two boys and two small dogs and a little bit of luggage.

We were waiting on the VW ID.4 or the Skoda Enyaq iV as they were early to market in the rest of the world but never landed here in Australia. We didn’t want to stretch to Model X for a car – that we see as just an expense. So we waited and waited. Eventually the Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 both looked to be coming to the market in Aus.

We reviewed the range/features of both and they seemed to fit the bill:

  • Range to get Sydney to Bathurst return and to Wauchope one way.
  • Fast DC charging.
  • Lots of safety features for our precious cargo.

Then it got to “nice to have” features – very fast charging, V2G support and V2L, very good performance and some fancy tech.

Then lastly the looks intrigued us and eventually, we decided to try our luck in one of the online auctions. Oh, and not having to deal with dealers also just felt nice.

What is it about V2L that interests you?

I was mainly interested in V2G, originally expecting we could use the car as our house battery and to help with distributed storage for the grid. As the V2G standards are lagging here in Australia we eventually put that on hold and bought a somewhat standard charger for the house and a powerwall battery and accepted V2G -ready.

With V2L in the car, the various possibilities started to come to mind. Using a power washer nowhere near a power point, having a 240v kettle in the car for a lovely tea or coffee on demand, and of course camping.

You recently did a test camp. What did you want to test, and why?

We are driving to rural Queensland next school holidays to visit some mates near Moonie, near Goondiwindi. We decided to drive up (to avoid flying – which would be about 1.4t of CO2eq) and to also camp on the way for a more fun family experience. We also want to show what is possible for others to see (plus take on a very low emissions trip).

We wanted to test out our new V2L for camping (kettle, fridge, stove) and some other new equipment to fit our increased family size and get reacquainted with camping after not going since our firstborn came along.

In particular, making sure that things cooked/heated well enough and didn’t drain more battery than we were expecting.

When we are driving to QLD we will be lucky a lot of the time with NRMA’s DC chargers (just 50 or 75; no 350kW yet) but there are going to be quite a few charges at some Showgrounds on three-phase plugs (at 11kW ; the Ioniq 5 is limited on AC) and so we don’t want to overspend our energy budget and run out on the road or to have to charge up too long at those relatively slow charge points.

We also wanted to test just fitting things in the car – it has a ridiculous amount of space because of the lack of a transmission tunnel and the very long wheel base but that just puts one more at risk of overfilling.

How did the test go? Surprises and disappointments?

It all went surprisingly well. It took a while to get the hang of simply turning on the V2L. The button on the V2L adapter needs to be pressed in further than you’d expect.

My wife was very surprised at how little the battery was actually depleted. The fridge was 70W most of the time. The induction stove 2200W. Sound/light machine all night. Still only used a couple of percent over the 3 nights.

We also took a double adapter. We’ll take a quad power board next time. There was the mildest annoyance of wanting better cable management of the 25m extension cord that normally lives in our frunk as just being too long for a small campsite.

I was surprised by the number of people in our campsite who came to ask about our setup and are keen to get EVs and off fossil fuels as soon as they can. Most were already aware about the options in the US and the phenomenal towing power they’d get – just waiting on our government to give clear indications to the car makers to get those vehicles here.

How will you tackle the disappointments?

All are pretty easy to solve for thankfully. A power board, a shorter extension cord and we are going to get a bigger pot (we were thinking too small).

What do you look forward to about camping with V2L?

On the real trip it will be the simplicity. We are camping at various places for two nights but still on a long road trip (2,400km).

We want an easy setup to get dinner started for two hungry boys and pack down to get on the road quickly. To have the campfire just for fun (and toasting marshmallows and bananas).

However, taking our own power we can get those niceties but at a completely out-of-the-way corner of someone’s paddock/camping site (we are staying on some lovely properties overlooking rivers with oodles of serenity).

My wife is looking forward to near instant coffee aeropress coffee at any time camping or driving and the easy option of having a hot lunch dinner any place we can stop.

Lastly for fun: where is your favorite camping spot. And why!

My favorite camping spot is In the US. King’s Canyon in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. Camping there at the start of summer with snow in the ground, jagged peaks and just next to the world’s largest trees was an annual ritual when I lived in San Francisco.

Here in Australia, it’s Green Patch down on Jervis Bay in the Booderee National Park. The picturesque lagoon and the beautiful beach and bay and the amazing bird life make it unforgettable.

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