I wasn’t kidding when I said that GM is going all-in on Ultium, the battery technology at the heart of the company’s electrification efforts, as well as an entire generation of Chevy and GMC EVs.
With its new spin-off business, GM Energy, the automaker announced on Tuesday that it is expanding its portfolio into energy management services — think large stationary batteries to store rooftop-generated solar power on a home or business.
According to GM’s announcement on Tuesday, the new venture will be comprised of three smaller ones: Ultium Home, Ultium Commercial, and Ultium Charge 360.
It will offer “solutions ranging from bi-directional charging, vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) applications, to stationary storage, solar products, software applications, cloud management tools, microgrid solutions, hydrogen fuel cells, and more.”
The new company will collaborate with a number of established energy firms and utilities.
GM, for example, will collaborate with SunPower to create and market an integrated home energy storage system that combines an electric vehicle with solar panels and battery banks to enable simple Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) power transfers.
GM intends to sell that home energy system alongside the release of the EV Silverado next fall, 2023.
Furthermore, GM Energy has partnered with California’s Pacific Gas and Electric utility for another V2H pilot program that will allow you to run your household appliances off the battery of your EV during power outages.
Eventually, the company intends to add V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) capabilities, allowing you to sell excess energy generated by the solar panels back to your local utility.
For businesses, Ultium Commercial may help ease the transition to an electrified fleet.
Many such existing GM customers, “have fleets of vehicles are looking to electrify their fleets, but aren’t really aware of how to set up the charging infrastructure, how to manage their energy,” Mark Bole, vice president and Head of V2X Battery Solutions at GM said during an embargoed press briefing last week.
“And so, not only do we come in as a hardware and software provider, but in a sense, really, as a strategic advisor for these commercial customers.”
“There are more power failures in the US than any other country in the industrialized world,” Travis Hester, vice president of GM EV Growth Operations, added. “There were 25,000 blackouts in California alone last year, over 15 and a half billion dollars of lost commerce, just in California.
“So when you look at the numbers, there is a desire — and we’re seeing it very clearly from commercial customers reaching out to us and asking us for assistance to deal with some of these problems.”
GM is also transferring its Ultium Charge 360 public charging station network to GM Energy. Charge 360 will be available in Washington, Florida, and California in 2021.
GM collaborated with Blink Charging, ChargePoint, EV Connect, EVgo, FLO, Greenlots, and SemaConnect to streamline their 60,000-plug network of 350 kW Level 3 DC fast chargers and provide drivers with “more seamless access.”
This past July, the automaker announced a 500-station “coast-to-coast” expansion in collaboration with EVGo. Under the Ultium Charge 360 banner, GM hopes to have 2,700 such EV fast charging stations across the United States and Canada by 2025.