General Motors announced today the formation of GM Energy, a new business unit consisting of the also recently announced Ultium Home and Ultium Commercial ecosystems, as well as the existing Ultium Charge 360 public charging infrastructure. GM Energy will explore a “holistic approach” to home and commercial energy management by integrating stationary energy storage, residential solar power and battery electric vehicles.
Ultium Home focuses on residential energy and is built around taking advantage of the large batteries present in electric vehicles via vehicle-to-home, or V2H, technology. A parked V2H-capable EV could, for example, provide electricity to a home during an outage or peak rate times when grid power is most expensive. GM Energy will work to develop and offer charging hardware for use with vehicles that support bidirectional power.
Via Ultium Home, GM Energy will also offer stationary home batteries — similar to Tesla’s Powerwall — that will integrate with vehicle charging hardware and residential solar power. A newly announced partnership names SunPower as the preferred installer for solar panels and the modular Ultium Home energy system that will be made available alongside the launch of the— the first to natively support bidirectional charging — in late 2023.
The software brains that promise to make the batteries, chargers, solar panels and other hardware play nicely together is the GM Energy Services Cloud. This energy management system decides how electricity is stored and used, ensuring there’s juice in the vehicle’s battery if needed for an upcoming trip, pulling energy from the EV or stationary storage to save money when grid rates are highest or, if local utilities support vehicle- to-grid functionality, selling excess power back to the larger grid. GM says its modular approach will scale to whatever mix of hardware the owner chooses, while its software will boost home and grid power resilience while keeping daily operation simple.
Ultium Commercial builds on the same methods and technologies as Ultium Home, but on a larger scale for businesses and fleets. That means larger stationary batteries that can collect or distribute more energy, more robust cloud management of multiple vehicles, the creation and management of micro grids, integration with alternative energy storage methods (such as hydrogen fuel cells) and more.
Not much is changing for the third GM Energy pillar, Ultium Charge 360. GM’s network of charging networks will continue to expand its public charging footprint, adding more services and products to its Charge 360 mobile app over time.
GM Energy recently announced a partnership withto test bidirectional charging under lab conditions, followed by a pilot program with a subset of residential customers expected to begin in 2023. (Rival automaker, Ford, is also .) Additionally, GM is working and exploring further partnerships with utilities and companies, including Con Edison, Graniterock and New Hampshire Energy Cooperative.