The electric car will not only be a car. It will also generate electricity for your house, if GM has its way.

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General Motors (GM) wants you to use its electric cars to go to work, to go on excursions, to do the shopping, to pick up your children from school… and, why not, to power your house with electricity in the event of a blackout . The American multinational has just announced a joint pilot project with the energy company PG&E Corporation to test the capability of their EV vehicles as home backup power sourcessomething like huge power banks on wheels.

To achieve this, both companies will begin to experiment this summer with bidirectional charging technologywhich includes the car and a charger capable of supplying energy between the vehicle and the home, known as V2H (Vehicle-to-home). The tests will take place in California, a state where it is not uncommon for families to experience blackouts in the summer, when operators are forced to cut power to reduce fire risks.

support for households

“Imagine a future where everyone drives an EV and it serves as a backup power option in the home and more generally as a resource for the grid. It’s not just a breakthrough for electrical reliability and climate resilience is yet another advantage of electric vehicles of clean energy,” says PG&E Corporation CEO Patti Pope through a joint statement with GM in which both companies highlight the potential of electric vehicles as a support to supply energy to homes.

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His plans are to test the first EV and V2H system this summer, including the bidirectional hardware and the communication protocols contained in the software. Although GM does not specify which models it will use, it does advance that “multiple electric vehicles” will be handled. After a first phase in the laboratory, they will proceed to evaluate the project in a group of homes. Both firms set in any case the objective of advancing in development for the end of this year.

General Motors is not the only company in the industry experimenting with the benefits of bi-directional charging and V2H systems and V2G (Vehicle-to-grid)network-focused. As pointed out in Motor Pasiónpoint in a similar direction the electric pick-up Ford F-150 Lightningthe Volkswagen ID.4 and ID.5 GTX or the new Volvo XC90. The objective, Pope details, is to offer an extra service to users. bidirectional charging allows energy to flow in two directionsboth to and from the EV, thanks to a converter that goes from direct current to alternating current.

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Why is it interesting? A V2H system would help balance power demand. A user could, for example, charge their vehicles at times of lower demand and reduce consumption at peak times or use their supply during a scheduled power outage.

The advantages are just as interesting for the whole supply network, especially in regions such as those operated by PG&E, where a large part of the electric cars circulating in the United States are concentrated. “You start looking at all those mobile batteries. How do we get them to really help some of the impacts that we’re seeing from climate change and other weather-related events?” explains to TechCrunch Aaron August of PG&E.

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Before being widely extended, the system still has to deal with some weak points. The capacity of the batteries is still limited and makes it difficult for the user to have a remnant of electrical energy, a handicap that is added to a charging infrastructure that is still expanding and the effect of what is known as “range anxiety”. A continuous use of V2G also accelerates the wear of the batteries and the system also requires addressing challenges such as minimizing conversion losses during the transformation from direct current to alternating current.

General Motors (GM) wants you to use its electric cars to go to work, to go on excursions, to do…

General Motors (GM) wants you to use its electric cars to go to work, to go on excursions, to do…

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