GM is tackling EV charging and energy grid shortcomings as it charges toward an all-electric future.
The multinational automaker and major contender in the EV space launched Ultium Home and Ultium Business, offering hardware for EV charging and energy grid management to homes and businesses.
“When you put all that hardware together, and you link it to what we call the GM energy cloud, we're able to help customers … manage their energy in both a daily manner to optimize energy usages, or in resilient situations in the event of a power loss,” Travis Hester, vice president of GM EV growth operations, told Cheddar News.
The move will spin the newly-launched businesses together with existing Ultium Charge 360, a collection of apps and services that aims to help customers navigate to charging stations, pay for their charge and even install charging at home. The newly-formed business unit is called GM Energy.
GM Energy’s suite of product offerings include bi-directional charging, vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid solutions, stationary energy storage, solar products, hydrogen fuel cells and an assortment of software tools like cloud management and microgrid solutions. The company also plans to work with third parties like energy services provider SunPower and Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
One goal of the division is to facilitate a transition to broader EV adoption, which some critics have suggested could overwhelm the energy grids at a time when climate change-related extreme weather have caused crippling disruptions.
“EVs are part of the solution to that grid problem, not part of the problem itself,” Hester said.
“With this technology that we're announcing from the Ultium home product line, and part of this GM energy business unit, will actually be able to support the grid, and be able to in the short term run a vehicle-to-home application and allows you to take energy from your vehicle, or from your stationary storage unit and apply that to run your home,” he added.
GM has set aggressive goals to accelerate electric vehicle sales. It was one of a handful of other major automakers including Ford and Mercedes-Benz to sign onto the Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) declaration at COP26, aiming to phase out tailpipe emissions in major markets by 2035 and worldwide by 2040. Alongside the Chevrolet Bolt EV, GM has a variety of new EVs set to enter the market.