Electric Chevrolet Silverado shown at the New York Auto Show, April 2022.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
General Motors on Tuesday said it is forming a new business unit to offer stationary battery packs, solar panels, electric vehicle chargers and other energy management products for homes and businesses.
Dubbed GM Energy, the new entity aims to build on the battery and software know-how GM has accumulated over the past several years to develop a new line of electric vehicles that will, over time, expand its internal combustion engine offerings will replace.
GM Energy will offer products and services for what the company calls “energy management,” including hardware like batteries and solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells, and — importantly — cloud-based software that can connect those offerings to electric vehicles and utilities. The products, some of which are provided by partners, can be tailored to both individual homeowners and businesses, including those operating fleets of electric vehicles.
Commercial operations are already underway, while home power systems will be available starting next year when the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV goes on sale.
GM Energy’s goal is twofold: to help the automaker take control of the customer experience when buying a new electric vehicle, and to build a sustainable business while GM seeks to double annual sales to $280 billion by the end of this decade.
Travis Hester, vice president of GM’s EV growth operations, said the new business unit offers customers and energy grids “resilience.”
“If you have a sudden unexpected power outage, you can use your vehicle or stationary storage box to power your home or small business,” he said. And the batteries can feed energy back into a regional power grid during a heat wave or other event.
GM isn’t the first in this space. Above all, Tesla has been offering charging, solar and energy storage for several years. There are also more traditional competitors like Generac. Ford Motor also enters the room.
The total addressable market for products and services targeted by GM Energy is between $125 billion and $250 billion, according to Hester. He told CNBC that growing concerns about the US power grid make this a timely offering.
Hester said GM Energy has already signed on a number of partners who will help it provide products and services and integrate its offerings with the power grid. The solar giant is one of these partners solar powerwhich will install GM’s home systems and supply solar panels, and regional utilities such as Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and Con Edison.
“It was very important to us that when we launched it wasn’t a plan for the future, it was something we’re doing right now,” said Hester, adding other partnerships to be announced soon.
PG&E is working with GM Energy to pilot a “bi-directional charger” that would allow an electric vehicle to power a home during a power outage. The electric vehicles charge at night when tariffs are low and may return energy to the grid during peak periods.
“The business fundamentals behind it are very solid,” Hester said, adding that energy management can save commercial customers hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and provide consumers with additional savings, if not revenue.
The companies expect to make this charger available to PG&E customers next year.
Ford engine has a similar deal with PG&E for its electric F-150 Lightning. It also has a partnership with course of the sun as the preferred installer of home energy systems. Installation of these systems began earlier this year.