It looks like General Motors is looking to follow Ford's example and offer bidirectional charging capability for its electric vehicles in the United States.
GM has announced a collaboration with California's Pacific Gas and Electric Company for the latter to pilot the use of its electric vehicles as on-demand power sources for homes in PG&E's service area. The two companies say they will test vehicles with bidirectional charging technology that can help safely power the essential needs of a properly equipped home in case of emergencies or to stabilize the grid.
PG&E and GM plan to test the pilot's first vehicle-to-home capable EV and charger by summer 2022, with the pilot to include the use of bidirectional hardware coupled with software-defined communications protocols. This 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.
Multiple GM electric vehicles will take part in the pilot, although the automaker did not nominate any model. Following lab testing, PG&E and GM plan to test vehicle-to-home interconnection allowing a small group of customers' homes to receive power from the EV when the electric grid stops supplying power.
The goal with this field demonstration is to develop a user-friendly vehicle-to-home customer experience for this new technology. Both teams are currently working to scale the pilot with the goal of opening larger customer trials by the end of 2022.
"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."
Patti Poppe, PG&E Corporation CEO
By the end of 2025, GM will have more than 1 million units of EV capacity in North America, according to the company's projections. GM says this will be made possible by the Ultium Platform, with the combined EV architecture and propulsion system to enable 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."
Mary Barra, GM Chair and CEO
For now, GM does not say which company it is working with to install the bidirectional hardware, but Rick Spina, vice president of EV infrastructure at GM, said during a media briefing that the automaker wants all of its EVs to offer bidirectional charging capability in the future.