In the USA, Pacific Gas and Electric and General Motors have announced a collaboration to pilot the use of GM electric vehicles as on-demand power sources (vehicle-to-grid, V2G). PG&E and GM aim to test the pilot’s first vehicle-to-home capable EV and charger by summer 2022.
The pilot will include the use of bidirectional hardware coupled with software-defined communications protocols that will enable power to flow from a charged EV into a customer’s home, automatically coordinating between the EV, home and PG&E’s electric supply. The participants in the pilot are GM drivers with homes in PG&E’s service area of northern and central California. The pilot will include multiple GM EVs.
GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra says: “GM’s collaboration with PG&E further expands our electrification strategy, demonstrating our EVs as reliable mobile sources of power. Our teams are working to rapidly scale this pilot and bring bidirectional charging technology to our customers.”
PG&E and GM say they will be testing the pilot’s first vehicle-to-home capable EV and charger by summer 2022. This will include the use of bidirectional hardware coupled with software-defined communications protocols that will allow electricity to flow from a charged electric vehicle into a customer’s home. The software would automatically coordinate between the vehicle, home and PG&E’s electric supply. A small subset of customers will be involved in the pilot whose homes will recieve power from their vehicles when power stops flowing frm the grid. The aim of the field demonstration is for the two companies to develop a user-friendly customer experience for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology.
V2G technology is being put through various pilot programs across the globe. Just last month, Ford and Siemens announced a bidirectional charging unit ready to be released at the user level, to be launched with deliveries of the company’s F-150 electric pickup truck. Proponents say that the technology will be useful for balancing grids using intermittent renewable energy.
In California it does not take a great stretch of the imagination to see that V2G technology is likely to be useuful for circumstances such as the state’s regular blackouts. Recently Tesla battery researcher Jeff Dahn revealed that the company’s infamous million-mile battery is not so much being developed for actually being used to drive for a million miles, but rather to be capable of being used as a stationary storage asset.
Both companies want to scale the pilot with the goal of opening larger customer trials by the end of 2022.
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