PG&E, GM collaborate on pilot program to use EVs as backup power source

Published on March 09, 2022 by Liz Carey

© Shutterstock

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and General Motors (GM) announced Tuesday they would collaborate on a pilot program to use GM electric vehicles to provide backup, 0n-demand power to homes in PG&E’s service area.

PG&E and GM will test vehicles with bidirectional charging technology that can safely power the essential needs of a properly equipped home. The bidirectional charging capabilities, the companies said, can add value by improving electric resiliency and reliability.

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

The companies said their goal is to test the pilot’s first vehicle-to-home capable EV and charger by the summer of 2022. The pilot will include the use of bidirectional hardware coupled with a software-defined communications protocol that will let power flow from the charged EV to a customer’s home. The software will automatically coordinate between the EV, home, and PG&E’s electric supply.

Once lab testing is complete, PG&E and GM plan to test the vehicle-to-home interconnection by allowing a subset of PG&E customers’ homes to safely receive power from the EV when power stops flowing to it from the electrical grid. The goal of the field demonstration is to develop a user-friendly vehicle-to-home customer experience for the new technology. Both teams said they are working quickly to scale the pilot and hope to open it to a larger customer trial by the end of 2022.