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GM launches pilot program to use EVs for home backup power, teases Chevy Silverado EV electric pickup for it

GM announced today the launch of a pilot program with PG&E in California to test the use of electric vehicles for home backup power.

The automaker has also teased using the upcoming Chevy Silverado EV electric pickup for the feature, which appears to be essential for upcoming new electric pickup trucks.

Bidirectional charging is a feature that we have seen more and more in electric vehicles lately, including in the recent Hyundai Ioniq 5, but it’s especially interesting in an electric pickup truck since pickups require bigger battery packs.

When Ford unveiled the F-150 Lightning, one of the features that created the most buzz was its support for bidirectional charging: Ford intelligent Backup Power.

It sort of made it a must-have feature for all other upcoming electric pickup trucks.

GM teased it for the Chevy Silverado EV electric pickup, and now the automaker has announced a pilot program with Pacific Gas and Electric Company to test the feature on the company’s network with GM EVs:

Pacific Gas and Electric Company and General Motors today announced a breakthrough collaboration to pilot the use of GM electric vehicles as on-demand power sources for homes in PG&E’s service area.

GM actually didn’t confirm which electric vehicles will be used in the program, which is starting this summer, but it released a picture of the Silverado EV in the press release announcing it.

The Silverado EV is not due to hit the market for another year, but maybe GM plans to deploy units for testing.

Although the company also confirmed that several different “GM EVs” will be used in the program.

PG&E Corporation CEO Patti Poppe commented on the announcement:

We are really excited about this innovative collaboration with GM. Imagine a future where everyone is driving an electric vehicle — and where that EV serves as a backup power option at home and more broadly as a resource for the grid. Not only is this a huge advancement for electric reliability and climate resiliency, it’s yet another advantage of clean-powered EVs, which are so important in our collective battle against climate change.

Here PG&E and GM released more details about the pilot program:

PG&E and GM aim to test the pilot’s first vehicle-to-home capable EV and charger by summer 2022. The pilot will include the use of bidirectional hardware coupled with software-defined communications protocols that will enable power to flow from a charged EV into a customer’s home, automatically coordinating between the EV, home and PG&E’s electric supply. The pilot will include multiple GM EVs.

Following lab testing, PG&E and GM plan to test vehicle-to-home interconnection allowing a small subset of customers’ homes to safely receive power from the EV when power stops flowing from the electric grid. Through this field demonstration, PG&E and GM aim to develop a user-friendly vehicle-to-home customer experience for this new technology. Both teams are working quickly to scale the pilot with the goal of opening larger customer trials by the end of 2022.

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