In a Beverly Hills mansion, where an electric truck is your only source of power

Last week, General Motors summoned a small group of journalists to a Beverly Hills mansion to witness the future of home energy. It started with a preventive power outage.

As the sun set in the Hollywood Hills, General Motors’ chief engineer flipped the circuit breaker and disconnected the five-bedroom house from the grid. The lights went out, and less than 20 seconds later, GM’s home system kicked them back up, drawing just 5 kilowatts or less from a fully charged Chevy Silverado EV parked in the garage.

When the lights came back on, a small crowd of reporters and General Motors Power Company employees applauded, as if they were experiencing electricity for the first time.

When the lights came back on, the small crowd applauded, as if they were enjoying electricity for the first time

While the pickup truck may be an unusual site in a tony neighborhood, the company wanted to show how its new energy company, GM Energy, could power an entire house using nothing but a Silverado as a mobile generator. GM wanted to showcase the new features of its vehicle-to-home (V2H) energy products in a dank if mostly sterile mansion in the ultra-affluent Los Angeles area.

(In case you’re house hunting, the luxury Beverly Hills mansion that hosted the GM demo is currently on the market for nearly $25 million — and is also rumored to have been owned by Rat Pack member Dean Martin.)

Prior to the event, GM Energy installed a two-way charger, which the company calls the GM Energy PowerShift Charger, as well as its V2H enablement kit, which includes a power inverter, a home hub that includes a computer system that manages loads through the home, and a backup battery. The complete kit retails for $12,699, but buyers can pick up individual components for the same price.

Using GM Energy equipment, the 10,000-square-foot mansion was powered exclusively by battery power from the fully charged 215-kilowatt-hour Ultium battery pack that powers the new Silverado EV for a few hours on the Thursday evening of the event.

a:hover):text-gray-63 (&>a:hover):shadow-underline-black dark:(&>a:hover):text-gray-bd dark:(&>a:hover):shadow- underline-gray(&>a):underline-shade-gray-63 dark:(&>a):text-gray-BD dark:(&>a):underline-shade-gray”>Photo: Abigail Bassett

But one can’t help but be surprised by some of the cognitive dissonance on display. Amid declining demand and declining sales of electric vehicles, automakers like General Motors are increasingly trying to market their plug-in vehicles as the Swiss Army knife of the electric grid. The goal is to get consumers to spend more on an electric vehicle to get access to all those extra features that aren’t available to anyone driving a fossil-fueled car.

The house was powered by a Silverado EV for the rest of the night, with more than 50 overhead lights playing inside, music throughout, a kitchen where the full crew of chefs continued to serve guests hot appetizers, and outdoor lighting working all the way down the 200-foot driveway.

While electric vehicle technology opens up a number of new and innovative benefits for the consumer, and there are plenty of benefits to creating V2H systems for electric vehicles, the clean energy market has had somewhat mixed financial results in recent months. However, GM remains optimistic and is moving forward with a team hired from private equity, climate technology, and more.

“This is truly unleashing the potential of GM’s electric vehicle portfolio.”

“This really unlocks the potential of GM’s electric vehicle portfolio,” said Wade Schaefer, GM’s vice president of energy. “Having that technology, in that garage, ready to do what it does now, increases the valuation of that property even more.”

“If you put one of these GM Home systems into each individual customer’s home, you can create a decentralized network,” added William Hotchkiss, head of safety, supplier quality, purchasing and supply chain. “You can start making it a connected network so you can manage demand, and everyone will have more reliability.”

a:hover):text-gray-63 (&>a:hover):shadow-underline-black dark:(&>a:hover):text-gray-bd dark:(&>a:hover):shadow- underline-gray(&>a):underline-shade-gray-63 dark:(&>a):text-gray-BD dark:(&>a):underline-shade-gray”>Photo: Abigail Bassett

GM launched GM Energy in 2022 as a way to compete in the growing home energy market and has plans to sell additional equipment, including a power bank or stationary home battery system.

The automaker is no stranger to dabbling in areas that seem incompatible with its core automotive business. It made mechanical hearts in the 1950s and, more recently, ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, in an era when electric vehicle sales have not grown as quickly as many automakers expected, questions remain about whether it makes business sense to get into the home energy business. The market isn’t small, but it’s not exactly growing, with current estimates putting it at around $150 billion.

Questions remain about whether it makes commercial sense for home energy

Other automakers also sensed an opportunity. Tesla described its energy business, which includes home chargers, stationary batteries and solar panels, as a bright spot during an earnings call last month. The company recently announced that it will begin rolling out two-way charging in 2025. In the home battery and solar installation market, Tesla dominates.

Hyundai offers its own home energy integration, which includes solar panels and battery storage, along with its electric vehicles like the Ioniq 5 and 6, which feature two-way charging. But the automaker said it is focusing more on energy from the car to the grid than from the car to the home.

GM is taking a similar approach and partnering with Qmerit to help homeowners install their own GM Energy technology. The company says its new “all-in-one” home system “will help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles.”

As Schaefer said during our interview, “GM simply believes we will have widespread adoption of electric vehicles, and we will invest in the entire ecosystem. We are a separate company within the company, so GM has invested in us to deliver every part possible.”

a:hover):text-gray-63 (&>a:hover):shadow-underline-black dark:(&>a:hover):text-gray-bd dark:(&>a:hover):shadow- underline-gray(&>a):underline-shade-gray-63 dark:(&>a):text-gray-BD dark:(&>a):underline-shade-gray”>Photo: Abigail Bassett

While the Silverado EV is the only current vehicle with this V2H capability, other GM EVs, including the GMC Sierra EV Denali, Chevy Equinox, Blazer EVs, and Cadillac Lyriq, will also get it either online or online. – Over-the-air update or installed by the agent.

While these features are similar to those already available on the Ford F-150 Lightning, GM promises to make them more accessible to the masses. Its plan is to convert its entire range of electric vehicles to enable V2H capabilities. But at launch, there are no plans to open the system to third parties.

For example, the GM Home range is not currently compatible with other EVs, including the Honda Prologue, which also gets GM’s Ultium battery. According to executives at last week’s event, there are no current plans to change that until ISO standards change.

“Currently, GM Energy offers the most comprehensive residential charging ecosystem on the market, bar none,” Schaefer said. “Once we have the power bank and solar connection, stop the tires.”

“Once we have the power bank and solar connection, stop the tires.”

Hotchkiss and Sheffer also confirmed that there are no current plans for GM to get into the solar panel manufacturing or installation business at this time, given how difficult the field is. (The company previously said it would work with third-party solar providers, such as Sun Power.) Plans to allow customers to sell excess energy to the grid are still in the works, according to Schiffer, noting that GM is currently experimenting with some smaller companies. Programs with facilities across the country.

These backup power systems essentially provide microgrids to communities and homeowners looking to insulate themselves from power outages due to extreme weather caused by climate change.

As global temperatures rise and climate change strains the electric grid to its limits, consumers are increasingly looking for ways to ensure they continue to have reliable power. Since EVs spend most of their time parked in home garages and plugged in, GM sees an opportunity to leverage those parked EVs for energy storage. Last week’s demonstration shows what that might look like.

Politics also plays a role in the energy field. As demand for electricity grows, coal plants close, and solar and wind power become more available, some politicians and critics of clean energy see the potential for a growing energy reliability crisis. By providing a way for people to power their homes when the grid goes down, GM says it opens up new opportunities for individual consumers. With Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s increasing polarization alienating some of his most loyal potential customers, GM is offering a less “political” alternative.

It also turns out that consumers want these types of features in their electric vehicles, at least according to a recent study by J.D. Power. The study found that more than a third of EV owners said they were interested in two-way charging as a way to make money by selling energy back to the grid and to help balance peak electric demand.

Although it’s still very early days for GM Energy and the new feature set that powers V2H support, executives have a positive outlook on the future of the project. “General Motors is a car company, withdrawing from the grid. It makes sense to have the entire ecosystem,” Schaefer said. “That’s why GM said we’re going to be a leader in this. If we don’t start, no one will ever get there. Well let’s go.”

This wasn’t a temporary solution either. GM executives promised that the Palace could operate for three to four days at this level of consumption before the battery was completely depleted. When I left around 9:30 p.m., the Silverado EV’s charge was only down 1 percent.

Check Also

Thieves target electric car charging stations, likely for copper in cables: officials

Thieves target electric car charging stations A disturbing trend is taking place across the country …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *