GM sets up business unit to improve grid resilience

  • October 17, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

General Motors has created a business unit called GM Energy, bringing together its vehicle charging technology to improve grid resilience.

The goal is to create a holistic ecosystem of energy management products and services that will be housed under the new business unit.

GM Energy’s connected product and service offerings are designed to offer cohesive energy management for home, commercial and EV users, with technology ranging from bi-directional charging, vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) applications, to stationary storage, solar products, software applications, cloud management tools, microgrids, hydrogen fuel cells and more.

The services will also enable the sale of energy from EV and stationary storage batteries back to utilities during peak, high energy consumption periods, unlocking potential value for customers and increasing resiliency for the electrical grid.

“The reliability of the US 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.”

The central interface will be GM’s energy services cloud, which will house data and energy management tools, connecting customers seamlessly with residential, fleet and commercial energy assets. Customers will be able to simply and manage their energy consumption through GM’s energy software applications. GM has already enrolled EV owners in managed charging programmes through the energy services cloud, with multiple utilities across four US states and growing.

Several large-scale companies across the USA have already agreed to work with GM Energy to provide energy technology to customers and receive product or service offerings. Among them is an agreement with SunPower, a solar technology and energy services provider.

Together, the two companies will develop and offer a home energy system that will consist of integrated EV and battery system, solar panels and home energy storage. A primary feature of the home energy system is expected to enable drivers to deliver power to their homes with the batteries in their compatible electric vehicles, designed to give them the ability to power their homes’ necessities in a blackout or draw from stored energy during peak rate times.

SunPower will also become a preferred installer for the home energy system and offer householders the opportunity to add solar to their home. The home energy system will be available alongside the retail launch of the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV, expected to begin production in autumn 2023.

“This is a vital next step towards making an all-electric lifestyle easy and even more beneficial,” said Peter Faricy, SunPower CEO. “Through this collaboration, we are making it easy for EV drivers to power their vehicles with clean energy and providing new ways to offer energy resiliency and peace-of-mind.”

Another initiative includes a V2H pilot project between GM Energy and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) planned to enable householders 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 asCon Edison, Graniterock and New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) to help deliver energy technology.

“GM Energy’s mission is to offer customers access to a full suite of energy products and services, including beyond the vehicle, accelerating the seamless transition to an all-electric future,” said Hester. “With the expansion of our enterprise business through GM Energy and one of the most comprehensive portfolios of energy management products and services available, we will help to reduce the barriers of entry for sustainable power and further accelerate the mass adoption of EVs.”

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 will allow us to better address current challenges with grid infrastructure, energy storage and energy management head on,” said Mark Bole, vice president at GM. “By leveraging GM’s flexible technology platforms and the power of Ultium, we’re able to provide resilient and accessible energy for all customers and the grid, helping to further advance the all-electric future.”