Thursday, May 23, 2024

GM partners with PG&E to use EVs as backup power source for homes

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and General Motors have announced a breakthrough collaboration to pilot the use of GM electric vehicles as backup power sources for their homes in PG&E’s service area during an outage.

Electric vehicles (EVs) play a critical role in achieving California’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and already provide customers with many other benefits. The two companies will test vehicles with cutting-edge bidirectional charging technology that can help safely power the essential needs of a properly equipped home. Bidirectional charging capabilities add even further value by improving the electric reliability and climate resiliency of California’s electric grid system.

PG&E and GM will test the pilot’s first vehicle-to-home capable EV and charger by summer 2022. The pilot will include the use of bidirectional hardware coupled with software-defined communications protocols that will enable power to flow from a charged EV into a customer’s home, automatically coordinating between the EV, home, and PG&E’s electric supply using multiple GM EVs.

“We are really excited about this innovative collaboration with GM. Imagine a future where everyone is driving an electric vehicle – and where that EV serves as a backup power option at home and more broadly as a resource for the grid. Not only is this a huge advancement for electric reliability and climate resiliency, it’s yet another advantage of clean-powered EVs, which are so important in our collective battle against climate change,” said PG&E Corporation CEO Patti Poppe.

Following lab testing, PG&E and GM plan to test vehicle-to-home interconnection allowing a small subset of customers’ homes to safely receive power from the EV when the power stops flowing from the electric grid. The two companies aim to develop a user-friendly vehicle-to-home customer experience for this new technology through pilot testing. Both teams are working quickly to scale the pilot with the goal of launching larger customer trials by the end of this year.

By the end of 2025, GM is targeting more than 1 million EV capacity in North America to respond to the growing demand for EVs. The company’s Ultium Platform, a combined EV architecture and propulsion system enables EVs at scale for every lifestyle and price point.

“GM’s collaboration with PG&E further expands our electrification strategy, demonstrating our EVs as reliable mobile sources of power. Our teams are working to rapidly scale this pilot and bring bidirectional charging technology to our customers,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra.