An EV to Power your Home moves Closer to Reality

March 13, 2022

Ford launched its F-150 pickup EV with a bold claim that the vehicle could power the owner’s home in case of a power outage, the long promised “Vehicle to Grid” capability.
Reporting from Detroit Free Press confirms GM is working on similar options.

Detroit Free Press:

General Motors electric vehicles may power homes one day. 

On Tuesday, GM announced a collaboration with Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The two will test the use of GM’s EVs as on-demand power sources for homes in PG&E’s service area in California.

PG&E, which is a utility company that serves 16 million people across Northern and central California, is taking the lead in the pilot, but GM said the intention is to make this capability national as soon as possible.

PG&E, which is a utility company that serves 16 million people across Northern and central California, is taking the lead in the pilot, but GM said the intention is to make this capability national as soon as possible.

The pilot program starts this summer. In it, the companies will test bidirectional charging technology to see whether it can safely power the essential needs of a properly equipped home. 

Bidirectional charging allows EVs to both receive power from the grid to charge the vehicle and send power from the vehicle to power a home, business, another vehicle or even back into the grid, said Phil Lienert, GM spokesman.

“Imagine a future where everyone is driving an electric vehicle — and where that EV serves as a backup power option at home and more broadly as a resource for the grid,” PG&E CEO Patti Poppe said in a statement. “Not only is this a huge advancement for electric reliability and climate resiliency, it’s yet another advantage of clean-powered EVs.”

In an interview on CNBC on Tuesday morning, Poppe said she and Barra worked together for 15 years at GM and that “Mary was a very important mentor to me. I called Mary and told her we have a safety issue in California with wildfires in place. Mary answered my call.”

The two started working to find solutions to provide more power for California’s electric grid to help residents when wildfires cause outages, Poppe said.

“EVs will be the ultimate solution,” Barra said on CNBC.

The companies will first test the vehicle-to-home capable EV and charger this summer in San Francisco, where PG&E’s labs are based, Lienert said.

The pilot will include the EVs GM already has in production: The 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup, built at Factory ZERO in Detroit and Hamtramck, and the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt, built at Orion Assembly in Orion Township which resumes production next month

“Ultimately, we intend to use everything in our fleet,” Lienert said.

The pilot will start in the lab using bidirectional hardware coupled with software-defined communications systems that enable power to flow from a charged EV into a customer’s home. The system will automatically coordinate between the EV, home and PG&E’s electric supply. 

After lab testing, PG&E and GM will move to the field to test vehicle-to-home interconnection on a small group of customers’ homes to safely receive power from the EV when power stops flowing from the electric grid.

PG&E and GM said they plan to open the pilot to larger customer trials by year’s end. There is a possibility that it will one day be available in Michigan, too, Lienert said.

“There are a number of trials currently taking place in the U.S., and some of them are based here in the Midwest,” Lienert said. “There are already discussions in place with other utilities.”

Crosstown, rival Ford Motor Co.’s F-150 Hybrid pickup was used to power a house during the Texas storms in February last year. A 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid provided heat, refrigeration and fresh coffee during an electrical outage.

7 Responses to “An EV to Power your Home moves Closer to Reality”


  1. It’s a monster. I know it kind of replaces the fossil fueled existing monsters, but these are resource munching machines. Get people peddling their own generators instead. Should get us all fit again.

    • renewableguy Says:

      The whole renewable energy system will be clearly ersource munching. Having a pickup or other vehicles do the same suggests to me that there would be less resources with vehicles doing the job. With a semi load of batteries per neighborhood and strong energy efficiency, that would use a lot less resources.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      While there are certainly a lot of people who only drive big pickups for prestige or cultural loyalty, but I’ve been working with a bunch of contractors lately and they definitely use those truck beds and haul trailers full of stuff. (They don’t look as pretty as those in the video, of course.) My two brothers and one of my sisters drive pickups because they do a lot of schlepping and fix-it work on friends’ and family properties (my sister also uses a Vespa and bicycles around town).

      If you can only afford one vehicle, though, you might settle for a pickup (even though you mostly commute), because you have projects and hobbies for which it is useful.

      In the future I’d like to get an EV smaller than my Leaf.

  2. indy222 Says:

    On the marging, it seems like a good thing. But this ridiculous hype needs to be called out. The rare metals and sheer resources to mine and the enviro damage it requires for this to be the Utopian game-changer hyped, are appalling. There will also be electrical losses, as in any system, as energy goes from one place to another and back again innumerable times. That’s all NEW energy needing to be generated.

    Desert ecosystems take centuries to recover even from a simple joy-ride by on of these F-150 trucks. Much more, as we wall-paper deserts with square mile upon square mile of solar panels, because it’s cheaper and we put no value on the land, unless we can fence it and put up a stiff-toll gate to charge entrance to “your” natural land.

    To the extent particular innovation enhances civilization growth, it takes us closer to the Edge. To the extent it cripples Nature in the extractions, it takes us closer to the Edge. Is this technology something we should never do? I’m not saying that.

    We’re between a rock and a hard place, and innovation will only speed our pace towards The Singularity. It’s not the Nirvana imagined by conventional right-wing utopians and economists. Innovation has built-in finite-time singularities (“Scale” – Geoffrey West). Ask an astronomer what it’s like to meet a Singularity. Fine, only if you like being ripped atom from atom.

    • renewableguy Says:

      You want a modern life with slavery and animals doing all our work, then renewable energy is it. Fossil fuels is a very serious failure for our climate. Burning fossil fuels on our human scale is a slow death to life on earth.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      The rare metals and sheer resources to mine and the enviro damage it requires for this to be the Utopian game-changer hyped, are appalling.

      First off, the metals aren’t that rare. As with the Salton Sea lithium, they just weren’t as cost-effective to extract before. Battery designers are also paying attention to social issues, like avoiding using cobalt (that comes from the oppressive places like Dem Republic of the Congo). Also, unlike the fossil fuels they’re replacing, they’re reusable. Coal, oil and gas are continuously extracted and consumed, and when a play goes dry or the mountain has been scraped of the accessible coal, they move to another site, with orders of magnitude larger footprints than the mines used to make batteries. Electric batteries are the functional equivalent of reusable storage tanks, and the industry to recycle them is functional (but still small, of course) and ramping up.

      There will also be electrical losses, as in any system, as energy goes from one place to another and back again innumerable times.

      Pushing electrons around is a hell of a lot easier than extracting and processing massive molecules. It’s moved around in pipelines, tankers and railcars. Refining fuel requires a lot of electrical power*, so the carbon footprint of a running ICE is markedly greater than what comes out of the tailpipe. Refined gasoline or diesel gets driven to a filling station in a tanker truck, and customers use a pump to fill their tanks.

      Another thing: People are so familiar with combustion engines and tailpipes that they don’t realize how truly nasty they are.

      _________
      *Refineries used to flare a lot of gas, too, but now more are capturing it for processing and sale in its own right.

  3. renewableguy Says:

    COrrection. You want a modern life with slavery and animals doing all our work, then stick with fossil fuels for energy.


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