GM, PG&E to test use of electric vehicles to power homes: NPR

The 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST is presented in Detroit on January 5. General Motors is participating in a pilot program with Pacific Gas & Electric to use electric vehicles as a backup power source for homes.

Paul Sancya/AP

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Paul Sancya/AP

As climate change fuels energy efficiency discussions, General Motors and Pacific Gas & Electric plan to test the use of electric vehicles as a backup power source for homes.

The pilot, which comes as automakers pump money into battery-powered cars, aims to test the idea of ​​home power by this summer. The program will take place in the utility’s service area, which includes northern and central California, and is intended to support the state’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The heart of the initiative is bidirectional charging, which would allow the vehicle to draw power from the grid and power something else – in this case, a house.

“Not only is this a huge step forward for electrical reliability and climate resilience, but it’s yet another benefit of clean electric vehicles, which are so important in our collective fight against climate change,” noted Patti Poppe, CEO of PG&E.

After lab testing, the partners plan to enable a small group of customer households to receive electricity from an electric vehicle when electricity stops flowing out of the power grid.

“Our teams are working to rapidly scale this pilot project and bring two-way charging technology to our customers,” said Mary Barra, GM President and CEO.

The home vehicle electric vehicle echoes the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightningan electric pickup that automatically powers a house if the lights go out, when the vehicle is connected to the house in some way.

The pickup works like a home generator and gives users “peace of mind,” says Ford. The battery can power a house for three days, and even up to 10 if the power is properly rationed. The trucks start $39,964.

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