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PG&E, General Motors want to use EVs to power your home


Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and General Motors (GM) are working together on "a breakthrough collaboration" to pilot the use of GM electric vehicles (EVs) as on-demand power sources for homes in PG&E’s service area.


PG&E, the San Francisco-based utility, and Detroit's GM will "test vehicles with cutting-edge bidirectional charging technology that can help safely power the essential needs of a properly equipped home," said a press release on the partnership. EVs play a critical role in achieving California’s goals for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and already provide customers with many benefits. Bidirectional charging capabilities can add even further value by improving electric resiliency and reliability.

A rendering of one of General Motors charging station concepts. —GM image


“We are really excited about this innovative collaboration with GM. 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,” said PG&E Corporation CEO Patti Poppe.


By the end of 2025, GM says it will have more than 1 million units of EV capacity in North America to respond to growing demand. The company’s Ultium Platform, a combined EV architecture and propulsion system, enables EVs "at scale, for every lifestyle and price point."


“GM’s collaboration with PG&E further expands our electrification strategy, demonstrating our EVs as reliable mobile sources of power. Our teams are working to rapidly scale this pilot and bring bidirectional charging technology to our customers,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra.


How the Pilot Will Work

PG&E and GM aim to test the pilot’s first vehicle-to-home capable EV and charger by summer 2022. The pilot will include the use of bidirectional hardware coupled with software-defined communications protocols that will enable power to flow from a charged EV into a customer’s home, automatically coordinating between the EV, home, and PG&E’s electric supply. The pilot will include multiple GM EVs.


Following lab testing, PG&E and GM plan to test vehicle-to-home interconnection allowing a small subset of customers’ homes to safely receive power from the EV when power stops flowing from the electric grid. Through this field demonstration, PG&E and GM aim to develop a user-friendly vehicle-to-home customer experience for this new technology. Both teams are working quickly to scale the pilot with the goal of opening larger customer trials by the end of 2022.


PG&E supports its customers’ EV adoption. Through its EV charging infrastructure programs, PG&E helps to reduce one of the biggest barriers to EV adoption—the lack of available places to charge. PG&E helps increase access to EV chargers for customers across light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles through its EV Charge Network, EV Fleet and EV Fast Charge programs.


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