GM takes on Tesla in home and commercial energy storage, management

DETROIT, Oct 11 (Reuters) – General Motors Co (GM.N) is expanding beyond automobile manufacturing and plans to offer energy storage and management services to residential and commercial customers through its new GM Energy unit, facing greater competition from Tesla Inc (TSLA. O).

GM Energy will bundle the existing Ultium Charge 360 ​​public charging service with two new units, Ultium Home and Ultium Commercial, which will offer stationary storage batteries as well as solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells, the company announced on Tuesday.

“We’re getting into the whole energy management ecosystem,” GM executive Travis Hester said in an interview.

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“Our competition in this space on the (automaker) side is really just Tesla, which is a strong energy management company,” added Hester, who leads EV Growth Operations. “There are many analogies that can be drawn with Tesla.”

Tesla’s seven-year-old power generation and storage business, which includes solar panels and stationary batteries, lost $129 million on sales of $2.8 billion last year.

According to Hester, GM sees a total addressable market of $120 billion to $150 billion for energy storage and management. He declined to provide a sales forecast for GM Energy.

The Ultium Home service will offer stationary wall boxes similar to Tesla’s Powerwall units. Sales and installation are scheduled to start in late 2023, timed to coincide with the launch of the first Chevrolet Silverado consumer EV trucks.

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As Ford Motor Co (FN) is doing with its F-150 Lightning, the Silverado EV will be bi-directional, meaning it can feed power back into the house in the event of a power outage.

GM’s commercial service will offer companies similar opportunities through larger stationary storage units and microgrids connected to hydrogen fuel cells developed by the automaker. Businesses, in turn, can sell energy back to utilities during peak periods of electricity use.

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GM will work with SunPower Corp (SPWR.O) to provide customers with solar panels to improve energy production.

“This is a new space for us,” said Hester. “We have core competencies in vehicles and batteries, in cell chemistry and in scale manufacturing. Combined with our expertise in fuel cells, our dealer network, what we’ve done with OnStar and connectivity, it seems like an obvious move for us.”

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Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit Editing by Marguerita Choy

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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