General Motors and Pacific Gas and Electric announced the launch of a new pilot program today that will allow California residents to use their GM electric vehicles to act as on-demand power sources for homes.
GM and PG&E will test vehicles with bidirectional charging capabilities that can power a residential home with the energy in an electric vehicle. When EVs sit parked in a garage with plenty of range, that energy could be used in a pinch for various reasons. One of them is to power a home that does not have electricity, as long as the vehicle is capable of acting as an energy storage device and can retransmit energy to another item in need of power.
Electric vehicles are playing a pivotal role in California’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, General Motors said in a press release. However, EVs could contribute additional advantages through bidirectional charging capabilities, meaning the vehicle can “accept” and “disburse” energy.
“We are really excited about this innovative collaboration with GM,” PG&E Corporation CEO Patti Poppe said. “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.”
GM and PG&E will test the first vehicle-to-home capable EV and charge by Summer 2022. The program will use bidirectional hardware coupled with software-defined communications protocols that will enable the vehicle to transmit power back to the home. This will automatically coordinate the EV, the house, and PG&E’s electric supply to work in conjunction. GM says multiple EVs will be included in the pilot program, but it did not name which vehicles would be added. However, the Silverado EV from Chevrolet was used as GM’s media photo for the program’s announcement.
The companies also said they would test vehicle-to-home interconnection, which would allow a “small subset of customers’ homes to safely receive power from the EV when power stops flowing from the electric grid.”
While a small pilot testing group will be launched by the end of Summer 2022, GM and PG&E hope to scale the program with larger customer trials by the end of the year.
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