California pilot program turns GM electric vehicles into portable battery packs

While almost not as messy as Texas’ energy infrastructureCalifornia’s power grid has seen its relative share of outages, protracted outages, and outages due to forest fires caused by PG&E. To help mitigate the economic impact of those disruptions, this summer General Motors and Northern California’s energy supplier will team up to test the automaker’s use of electric vehicles as backup battery packs. , mobile for the state grid.

The pilot program, announced by GM CEO Mary Barra on CNBC Tuesday morning, is based on two-way charging technology, in which power can travel from the grid to the vehicle (G2V charging) and from the vehicle back. grid (V2G), allowing the vehicle to act as an on-demand power source. GM plans to offer this capability as part of Ultium battery platform over one million electric vehicles by 2025. Currently Nissan Leaf and Nissan e-NV200 offers V2G charging, although Volkswagen announced in 2021 that Its ID line will deliver it later this year and Ford F-150 Lightning will be as well.

This summer’s pilot will initially investigate, “the use of bidirectional hardware combined with software-defined communication protocols will allow current to flow from a charged EV into a customer’s home, automatically coordination between EVs, homes, and PG&E’s power supplies,” according to a statement from the companies. If early trials work, the program will expand first to a small subset of PG&E customers before expanding to “larger customer trials” in late 2022.

“Imagine a future in which there is an electric vehicle in every garage that acts as a backup power source whenever needed,” said GM spokesman Rick Spina.

“We see this expansion as the catalyst for what could be a moment of greatest transformation for two industries, both the utility and the auto industry,” said PG&E spokesman Aaron August. more. “This is a huge shift in the way we think about electric vehicles and personal vehicles in general. Really, it’s not just about getting from point A to point B anymore. It’s getting from point A to point B with the potential to go from point to point. energy supply.”

Technically, like from a hardware standpoint, GM vehicles can offer two-way charging as they’re currently on sale, Spina noted during the call. The current challenge, and what this pilot is designed to solve, is developing the software and UX infrastructure needed to ensure that PG&E customers can easily use the system on a daily basis. “The good news is that it is nothing more than what is already the industry standard for connectors, software protocols. “The industry is moving towards ISO 15118-20. “

The length of time an EV can run in the home it’s bound to will depend on a number of factors – from the size of the vehicle’s battery to the home’s electricity consumption to the current weather – but months 8 estimates that for the average Californian home use 20 kWh daily, a Chevy Bolt is fully charged there will be enough juice to power the house for about 3 days. This pilot program comes as automakers and utility companies figure out how to most effectively respond to the recent state directive. Ban on the sale of internal combustion vehicles starting in 2035.

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