GM creates Energy subsidiary for powering homes with EVs

General Motors is introducing “a new energy ecosystem” based on bidirectional charging, shortly called ‘GM Energy’. Basically, this is the principle of electric cars connecting to the home (V2H) and the national power grid (V2G) to support energy supply, preferably renewable. Just a few days ago, Volvo announced a similar V2X home system for its upcoming EX90 SUV.

EVs can provide a home with energy for days with stored electricity in the Ultium battery packs – like from solar panels on the house’s roof that GM can install for you – without the battery needing to be charged from the grid in between.

This is particularly interesting for several regions in the US, which suffer from a black-out frequency comparable to developing countries due to the vastness of the nation.

An electric car, especially with a bigger battery pack like in pickups, can keep all the appliances and lights functioning when the national power grid suddenly shuts down. It can also prove valuable in emergencies, like hurricanes or tornado devastation, which are uncommon in certain areas.

To make the connection happen, a special converter in a wallbox, management tools, and data harvesting are needed. These services will now be offered by GM Energy and will be bundled in a dedicated smartphone app for customers to monitor the process. Many car brands are venturing into these new business models, which extend beyond their traditional core vehicle R&D and marketing.

Valorize on energy

Vice president of GM EV Growth Operations Travis Hester commented: “The reliability of the US electrical power grid has never been more important. GM Energy has the opportunity to help deliver sustainable energy products (…) and provide customers with resilient and cost-effective energy management.”

EV grid integration reaches much beyond providing a backup in case of outages. It also provides a quintessential link in the transition to a renewable grid by storing solar power during the day and feeding it back to the domestic (V2H or vehicle-to-home) or national (V2G or vehicle-to-grid) network in the evening. Also called stationary storage capacity. With V2G, customers can valorize the energy and sell it.

Partners are essential

GM Energy can supply its customers with a full-scaled package, including installing solar panels on home roofs. To do so, it partners with SunPower, one of the US’s biggest specialized companies in this field.

Collaborations are essential for automotive companies to succeed in their new-found role as energy management providers. For V2H offers, GM works with Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E).

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