General Motors to test bi-directional charging for EVs, use them as backup power
General Motors has tied up with Pacific Gas and Electric Company to pilot the use of electric vehicles as on-demand power sources for homes. Both the companies will together test vehicles with bi-directional charging technology so that they can in turn safely power the essential needs of a properly equipped home.
While EVs already play a critical role in achieving goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, equipping them with bidirectional charging capabilities will add even further to their value by improving electric resiliency and reliability. “GM’s collaboration with PG&E further expands our electrification strategy, demonstrating our EVs as reliable mobile sources of power," said GM CEO Mary Barra.
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The first pilot testing of vehicle-to-home capable EV and charger will be done by summer 2022, and will use bi-directional hardware coupled with software-defined communications protocols that will enable power to flow from a charged EV into a customer’s home. The system will automatically coordinate between the EV, home and PG&E’s electric supply.
Following lab testing, the companies will test vehicle-to-home interconnection allowing a small subset of customers’ homes to safely receive power from the EV when power stops flowing from the electric grid. Through this field demonstration, PG&E and GM aim to develop a user-friendly vehicle-to-home customer experience for this new technology. The companies are working to scale the pilot with the goal of opening larger customer trials by the end of 2022.
General Motors is making efforts to make its electric vehicles useful in more than one way. By the end of 2025, the company aims to have more than one million units of EV capacity in North America to cater to growing demand. The company’s Ultium Platform, a combined EV architecture and propulsion system, will be used to underpin its future EVs that are meant for every lifestyle and price point.