Technology is developing at a previously unheard-of rate. Another innovation is that many electric cars could soon serve as mobile power plants. This week, General Motors made known that it was adopting this strategy. A new company called GM Energy sells a variety of electric vehicle chargers that can also supply energy to buildings and the electrical grid. Professionals refer to it as bidirectional charging.
This feature will be available in the Chevrolet Silverado EV when it goes on sale in the fall of 2023. Additionally, GM is working on a pilot project with California’s Pacific Gas and Electric Company that will enable a portion of residents to use the new chargers and have backup power during power outages brought on by wildfires and rising heat waves. Owners of electric vehicles (EVs) would eventually receive payment for the energy they sold to the grid.
In the near future, electric vehicles might serve as backup power plants
The energy and automotive industries are going through a moment of change, according to Paul Doherty, a PG&E spokesman. In addition to grid support, home backup power, and a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, EV batteries have many advantages.
According to Doherty, PG&E is looking into “managed charging” pilot programmes with manufacturers like Ford and Tesla. In the ideal world, he added, EVs would discharge electricity to the grid between the hours of 4 and 9 p.m., when demand is at its highest, and charge outside of those hours, when solar energy is plentiful and reasonably priced.
Such a scenario is inevitable, according to Mark Bole, GM’s head of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) and battery solutions. A cloud-based system for managing charging and energy data is provided by GM Energy. This solution may link with utilities and alert customers via a mobile app when it’s time to refuel. The firm also works with the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative and Con Edison of New York in addition to PG&E.
GM Energy also disclosed a partnership with SunPower, the biggest residential solar installer in the US, to offer customers a home energy system made up of stationary battery storage and solar panels. similar to the partnership Ford and Sunrun developed the previous year.
Additionally, the Ford F-150 Lightning has bidirectional charging, which was useful following Hurricane Ian’s devastation to southwest Florida’s electrical grid. Jim Farley, the CEO of Ford, tweeted that 127% more people were using their trucks as power sources to run lights, refrigerators, and smart devices. However, seawater corrosion of their lithium-ion batteries caused some EVs to catch fire.
Within the next five years, according to Sunil Chhaya, a senior technical specialist at the nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute, all EVs will be equipped with these two-way capabilities. He pointed out that it is yet unclear whether consumers and companies will make use of the technology.