General Motors new thinktank vehicle batteries used for homes

General Motors has started a new thinktank working on how electric vehicle batteries can be used as batteries for homes during blackouts.

Working with Pacific Gas and Electric in this new joint venture, the companies are looking at feeding power back into the grid during peak times, but also powering homes during times of blackouts.

PG&E operates out of California and the pilot will actually take place there, this is following wildfires causing a severe strain on the electric infrastructure.

However, this is not the first car company to look to help users with their power, BMW is already working with PG&E to that end.

To put it simply the concept is the use of bi-directional charging, that will allow vehicles to be charged and then to return that power through the charging port when required.

In essence this would turn every electric car into a battery pack capable of supplementing the grid, should it be required.

GMs Rick Spina, VP EV Commercialisation, has stated there will be “1 million units of EV capacity” in Northern America by the year 2025.

There are currently no GM EVs with the capability of bi-directional charging, however it seems that this may be introduced through a software update.

“We’re on the cusp of turning our EVs into a power source for our customers,” Spina has said. “And these customers aren’t even aware of it.”

The company will be testing throughout 2022, both the bi-directional charging, but also the software protocols required to ensure a safe release of the energy from the vehicle and into the home when required.

Spina continued, “Imagine a future in which there’s an EV in every garage that functions as a backup power source whenever it’s needed”.

One of the main differences though in how power is stored in EVs and how it is used in the house is direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC), it is yet to be made clear on how this will be addressed by the company.

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