GM said it is getting into the vehicle-to-building charging sector with a new business unit known as GM Energy.
It said that its Ultium Home and Ultium Commercial, in combination with the existing Ultium Charge 360, are intended to create a suite of energy management products and services.
The move comes as electrification across multiple sectors including transportation is taking hold. The expansion offers more business opportunities for car manufacturers as the vehicle’s battery can be tapped when it’s not in use to provide resiliency to the grid or backup power to homeowners.
GM Energy’s connected product and service offerings are intended to include bi-directional charging, vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) applications, stationary storage, solar products, software applications, cloud management tools, microgrid solutions, hydrogen fuel cells and more.
Acting as an aggregator, GM Energy’s services would also enable the sale of energy from EV and stationary storage batteries back to utilities during peak, high energy consumption periods.
The central interface for GM Energy’s solutions will be GM’s Energy Services Cloud, which will house data and energy management tools, connecting customers with residential, fleet and commercial energy assets. Customers will be able to manage their energy consumption “simply and efficiently” according to GM, through energy software applications. GM has already enrolled EV customers in managed charging programs through the Energy Services Cloud, with multiple utilities across four U.S. states and growing, it said in a press release.
“The reliability of the U.S. electrical power grid has never been more important,” said Travis Hester, vice president of GM EV Growth Operations. “GM Energy has the opportunity to help deliver sustainable energy products and services that can help mitigate the effect of power outages and provide customers with resilient and cost-effective energy management.”
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GM follows Ford, which has made a selling point of its new Lightning F-150 owners’ ability to power their homes with it during an outage. Utilities Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Duke earlier this year announced pilot programs to test how the vehicle could be used to provide resiliency.
In addition, GM said it signed an agreement with solar installer SunPower to develop and offer customers a home energy system which will consist of integrated EV and battery solutions, solar panels and home energy storage. SunPower will also become a preferred installer for the home energy system and offer customers the opportunity to add solar to their home. The home energy system is expected to be available alongside the retail launch of the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV, set to begin production next fall.
Another initiative includes a V2H pilot project between GM Energy and PG&E planned to enable residential customers to use their compatible EVs along with a bi-directional charger, as backup power for essential home needs during short-term power outages. After initial lab tests, the two companies anticipate expanding the V2H offer to a subset of residential customers within PG&E’s service area, expected to begin in 2023.
GM Energy is also working with several other companies such as Con Edison, Graniterock and New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) to help deliver energy solutions to customers, while also helping to inform and advance future GM Energy offerings.
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As part of GM Energy, Ultium Charge 360 will continue to expand its existing portfolio of integrated public charging networks, integrated mobile apps, and additional product and service offerings over time.
“The massive scale of GM Energy’s solutions will allow us to better address current challenges with grid infrastructure, energy storage and energy management head on,” said Mark Bole, vice president and Head of V2X Battery Solutions at GM. “