GM Energy Technology

GM to Incorporate its Battery Work into the New Energy Business Division.

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The division would market services to enable EV owners to control electricity for both home and commercial buildings.

General Motors is launching an energy company to provide power-storage systems and related services to residential and commercial customers as a spinoff from its work on batteries for electric vehicles.

The new division, GM Energy, will offer clients battery packs, EV chargers, and software to assist them in maximizing charging and withstanding outages in the electric grid.

To defend against power outages and transfer electricity to the grid during off-peak hours, GM said the new division would also assist clients in transmitting electricity from an EV or battery-storage box to a house or building.

For example, GM will provide a special charger for EV owners so that their cars may power their homes in the event of a power outage. Additionally, it will provide business clients with extensive, independent batteries to store and control electricity.

Head of GM’s EV development efforts, Travis Hester, stated that the business sees an opportunity to profit from its investment in battery technology outside of the sale of EVs. He declined to provide a sales objective but added that management could eventually present targets to investors.

We are now a very skilled battery maker, he claimed. “Moving in here is a natural development for us.”

“You may utilize your car or a stationary storage box to be able to power your house or small company if you experience a sudden, unexpected power loss,” he said. Additionally, batteries may supply electricity to a local power grid during a heat wave or other incident.

GM hasn’t entered this market initially. Most importantly, Tesla has long provided energy storage, solar, and charging. Additionally, there are more established rivals like Generac. Ford Motor is also moving into this market.

Hester estimates that the entire addressable market for the goods and services that GM Energy aims to sell is between $125 billion and $250 billion. He told CNBC that this sale is reasonable given the rising worries over the American electricity infrastructure.

Hester said that GM Energy has already contracted with several partners that would aid in the delivery of its goods and services as well as the integration of those items into the grid. Among them is global solar powerhouse SunPower, which will build GM’s home systems and supply solar panels, and local utility providers, including Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and Con Edison.

When we released this, “it was incredibly essential to us that it was not a plan for the future, but truly something we’re doing right now,” added Hester; he also mentioned that additional collaborations would be revealed shortly.

On a pilot test of a “bi-directional charger,” which enables an EV to supply electricity to a home during a blackout, PG&E is collaborating with GM Energy. The EVs can supply electricity back to the grid during peak hours by charging at night when prices are lower.

Energy management may save commercial clients hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and generate significant savings, if not money, for consumers, according to Hester. He also noted that the business foundations supporting it are quite strong.

The businesses anticipate releasing the charger to PG&E consumers early next year.

For its electric F-150 Lightning, Ford Motor Company has a similar agreement with PG&E. Additionally; it has a preferred installation agreement with Sunrun for residential energy systems. These systems have been installed since the beginning of the year. Other automakers have also decided to use their previous experience creating battery-powered vehicles to enter the energy sector. Energy storage is a company run by Tesla Inc. that brought in $866 million in the second quarter. In June, Toyota Motor Corp. started selling a battery-storage system for household usage in Japan.

According to executives, the competition among automakers to release EVs and automate more aspects of vehicles is also opening up the potential to expand into other business sectors.

GM Energy will provide hardware like batteries, solar panels, and hydrogen fuel cells, as well as software that can connect these offerings with electric cars and utility companies. These products and services are all part of the company’s “energy management.” The products, some of which will come from partners, can be customized for commercial and residential customers, including businesses with electric vehicle fleets.

GM established its BrightDrop division last year, which offers software services and electric vans to business clients like FedEx Corp. Additionally, automakers are attempting to make money off the growing amount of data from connected cars. One example is the use of driving patterns to determine auto insurance rates.

Some of GM’s prior attempts to diversify into new industries failed. It discontinued a car-sharing service it had developed to compete with startups a few years ago. The automobile manufacturer bought Hughes Aircraft Co. and Electronic Data Systems Corp. in the 1980s but eventually sold both businesses since the auto industry was struggling.

According to Mr. Hester, GM has been growing its energy business for around two years, and several significant corporations have signed on as clients.

GM will provide a software solution to business clients to manage, for example, the charging of their electric vehicles and vans. During periods of high power demand, users will also be able to sell energy from an EV or a battery storage unit provided by GM to the utility, according to the energy company, he added.

According to Mr. Hester, using EVs as portable generators might increase the electrical grid’s resiliency. Utility firms, including PG&E Corp. of California and others, have stated they favor the deployment of EVs to improve system resilience.

According to GM, a trial initiative operated by GM and PG&E allows consumers to utilize their EVs to power their homes during blackouts.

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