GM to Test Electric Vehicles as Backup Power Source for Homes


In order to show that electric vehicles (EVs) offer business value beyond simple daily commutes, GM recently announced a new program to explore options to make its battery storage systems available to more people. 

In what General Motors calls "bidirectional charging," the company will team up with Pacific Gas & Electric Company to explore using vehicles in an emergency. The goal is to utilize the massive storage capacity in GM's electric vehicle batteries so that they can be used as on-demand power sources.

An electric vehicle that is plugged into a home charging station during a power outage would be able to send power from the car back into your house in an emergency. CNet's Roadshow reported that if a blackout occurred, the system could seamlessly shift from charging to generator, running your lights and refrigerator until electricity was restored.

PG&E will test the technology in the lab before implementing it at full scale. If successful, the technology could play a key role in improving the electricity grid. In a joint statement, both PG&E and GM said, "Not only is this a huge advancement for electric reliability and climate resiliency, it's yet another advantage of clean-powered EVs, which are so important in our collective battle against climate change." 

As well as General Motors, Ford is also experimenting with bidirectional charging, which it has incorporated into the Ford Charge Station Pro, a similarly configured home charging station that works with the F-150 Lightning EV pickup.

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