HomeNewsGM Wants To Use Electric Vehicles To Power Homes in California in Event of Power Outages

GM Wants To Use Electric Vehicles To Power Homes in California in Event of Power Outages

by Matthew Memrick
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

GM officials want their electric vehicles to power homes when the annual power outages come to California this summer.

The General Motors company will team up with The Golden State to help California’s struggling power grid. This summer, the electric vehicles will serve as mobile battery packs for a small group of electric customers, thanks to a Pacific Gas and Electric plan. 

So, let me get this straight, electric vehicles will go up against climate change, wildfires, floods, and rolling blackouts this summer. Jalopnik reported on the plan.

“Imagine a future in which there’s an EV in every garage that functions as a backup power source whenever it’s needed,” GM spokesperson Rick Spina said during a recent press conference.

What We Know

  • GM’s small program with Pacific Gas and Electric is set for the summer
  • GM electric vehicles currently sold have the hardware for the program
  • Average California home would use 20 kilowatts daily 
  • A fully-charged Chevy Bolt reportedly can power a home for 3 days

California All About The Electric Cars

How will it work? It’s all about bidirectional charging. The technology involves an electric vehicle taking power from the grid while the grid takes energy from the electric vehicle. 

In addition to GM’s cars, there are two-vehicle models with the current technology, the Nissan Leaf and Ford F-150 Lightning. Engadget said Volkswagen’s ID4 would have the tech later this year.

So Californians, get ready for less time without rolling blackouts. We think.

By the way, California became the first state to have a million plug-in cars, according to the Mercury News. As of Dec. 31, the newspaper said California drivers had registered 663,014 purely electric vehicles and 379,125 plug-in hybrids. Those hybrid cars use gasoline when not running on electricity. 

California Power Company Looking Forward To GM Electric Vehicles Deal

The hype seems to be growing for this program, folks.

One PG&E spokesperson said an average California home would use 20 kilowatts daily and the full-charged Chevy Bolt could help power a house for three days. For the record, the average Cali house uses 557 kilowatts per month. 

“We are really excited about this innovative collaboration with GM,” PG&E CEO Patti Poppe said in a press release. “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.”

Poppe called it a “huge advancement for electric reliability and climate resiliency” and “yet another advantage of clean-powered EVs, which are so important in our collective battle against climate change.”

The GM plan involving electric vehicles will start small before the bidirectional charging method goes statewide in late 2022. Another issue could be software and infrastructure issues. Both power and car companies plan to work on that.

Engadget reported that GM said its current electric vehicles could do the bidirectional charging thing from a hardware standpoint. So, does that mean they’re halfway there or close to making the program ready? We just don’t know yet.

Officials did not say how many vehicles would start this small program. Also, will a mansion zap a car’s battery? The program does not elaborate on a house’s specific power needs and the GM electric vehicle’s battery size or home size.