Tesla and General Motors’ rivalry may soon extend beyond electric vehicles and advanced driver-assist systems. As per recent reports, GM is moving beyond the automotive industry with plans to offer energy storage and management services to residential and business clients through its new division, GM Energy. This should put GM in even more fierce competition with Tesla.
General Motors noted on Tuesday that GM Energy would be building on the company’s existing Ultium Charge 360 public charging service with two new units — Ultium Home and Ultium Commercial — to provide clients with stationary storage batteries, solar panels, and hydrogen fuel cells. This is quite similar to Tesla Energy, which has long offered stationary storage and solar products.
GM executive Travis Hester, who heads the veteran automaker’s EV Growth Operations, noted that Tesla would be GM’s biggest competitor. “We’re getting into the entire ecosystem of energy management. Our competition in this space on the (automaker) side is really only Tesla, which is a strong energy management company. There are a lot of analogies you can draw with Tesla,” Hester said.
Hester noted that GM estimates the overall addressable market for energy storage and management will be between $120 billion and $150 billion, according to a Reuters report. He declined, however, to give GM Energy’s expected revenue projections.
General Motors seems to be gearing up to start the ramp of GM Energy just as its new electric vehicle offerings are entering the market. Sales and installation for Ultium Home services are expected to begin late 2023, around the same time as the expected launch of the Chevrolet Silverado EV pickup for private customers. Ultium Home’s residential battery storage units are expected to be similar to Tesla Powerwalls.
Ultium Commercial would offer products that are designed for businesses, from larger battery packs to microgrids connected to hydrogen fuel cells. Similar to Tesla Energy’s clients, businesses who opt for Ultium Commercial should also be able to sell energy back to the grid during periods of high energy use. GM will be teaming up with SunPower Corp to provide its clients with solar panels as well.
“This is a new space for us. We have core competencies in vehicles and batteries, in cell chemistry and scale manufacturing. Put that together with our expertise in fuel cells, our dealer network, what we’ve been doing with OnStar and connectivity, and it seems like an obvious step for us,” Hester said.
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