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There’s a growing sense that the global auto industry is headed for an overhaul far beyond simply the type of propulsion cars use to get around.
Car companies are, of course, investing billions in developing fleets of electric vehicles (EVs) to succeed gas-powered ones, but they’re also incorporating rapid advances in connected technology and potentially dealing with wholesale changes in how consumers interact with both transportation and the electrical grid.
Executives at the U.S.’s largest automaker have established an entirely new division of their business in hopes of capitalizing on the latter. General Motors said its new GM Energy business unit would include its existing car-charging operations, known as Ultium Charge 360, with two newly created services: Ultium Home and Ultium Commercial.
Company officials said the division would house a “holistic ecosystem” of energy management products for homes and commercial facilities in addition to electric vehicles, including bi-directional charging, vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid capabilities, and software, cloud management, energy storage, and solar and hydrogen systems. GM added that its Energy Services Cloud would house the platform’s data and energy management tools and allow customers to seamlessly connect residential, commercial, and fleet assets. It would also facilitate the sale of energy back to the grid during peak times and help mitigate the effects of power outages.
Several companies have already signed on to work with GM Energy, the automaker said, including solar energy firm SunPower, which plans to develop a home energy system incorporating solar panels, storage systems, and integrated vehicle and battery solutions. Numerous outlets have noted the similarities between GM Energy and Tesla, which makes its flagship electric vehicles in addition to energy storage systems and solar panels and roof tiles.
A GM executive told Reuters that the company hopes to begin sales and installation of its Ultium Home in-home storage systems in time for the launch of the electric Chevrolet Silverado pickup late next year.
Image Credit: GM
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