GM Energy to Provide EV Chargers, Energy Storage

The new unit provides battery packs, charging units and software to manage energy grid blackouts.

October 12, 2022

DETROIT—General Motors is launching a new business unit called GM Energy, which will include a “holistic ecosystem” of energy management products and services. GM Energy will consist of Ultium Home, Ultium Commercial and Ultium Charge 360.

The products and services are meant to offer cohesive energy management for home, commercial and EV customers, with solutions ranging from bidirectional charging, vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) applications, to stationary storage, solar products, software applications, cloud management tools, microgrid solutions, hydrogen fuel cells and more.

“The reliability of the U.S. electrical power grid has never been more important," said Travis Hester, vice president of GM EV growth operations, in a statement. “GM Energy has the opportunity to help deliver sustainable energy products and services that can help mitigate the effect of power outages and provide customers with resilient and cost-effective energy management.”

According to CNBC, GM has two goals with GM Energy: assist the automaker in controlling the customer experience when consumers purchase a new EV and create a sustainable business as GM attempts to double annual revenue to $280 billion by the end of this decade.

Hester told CNBC that GM Energy will provide customers and energy grids with “resiliency.”

“If you have a sudden unexpected power outage, then you can use your vehicle or your stationary storage box to be able to power your home or small business,” he told CNBC. And the batteries can feed energy back into a regional power grid during a heat wave or other event.

GM signed partners prior to announcing GM Energy to the public. Partners include SunPower, which will install GM’s home systems and provide solar panels, and regional utility companies including Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and Con Edison.

“It was really important to us that when we launched this that it was not a plan for the future, but actually something we’re doing right now,” Hester told CNBC, adding more partnerships will be announced soon.

PG&E is working with GM Energy to pilot a “bidirectional charger,” which would allow an EV to provide power to a home during a blackout. The EVs charge at night when rates are low and potentially provide energy back to the grid during peak hours, reports CNBC. The charger is expected to be available for PG&E customers next year.

“The business fundamentals behind this are very solid,” Hester told CBNC, adding that energy management can save commercial customers hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and provide additional savings, if not income, for consumers.

Tesla has been offering its customers charging, solar and energy storage for years. Ford also has a similar deal with PG&E for its electric F-150 Lightning. It also has partnered with Sunrun, which installs home energy systems, and Ford has been installing systems since earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Amazon is investing 1 billion euros ($972.1 million) in electric vans, trucks and cargo bikes for its European delivery network, reports the Associated Press. The investment adds thousands of these transportation modes to its network, growing the number of electric delivery vans the company has in Europe from roughly 3,000 to 10,000 by 2025. It also plans to purchase 1,500 electric trucks. It currently has five that operate in the U.K.

Amazon said that it will build hundreds of fast chargers in its European facilities that can charge the vehicles in about two hours.

“Our transportation network is one of the most challenging areas of our business to decarbonize, and to achieve net-zero carbon will require a substantial and sustained investment,” Andy Jassy, Amazon CEO, said in a statement, referring to the company’s pledge to be net carbon by 2040. AP reports that Amazon grew its carbon emissions by 18% last year, driven by the surge in online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic.

Amazon also has 25 “micro-mobility hubs” located in dense European cities that allow for bike and foot deliveries, and the company plans to double the number of hubs by 2025, taking more delivery vans off the road.