General Motors will begin testing a new technology that would allow electric vehicle owners to power their homes during an energy outage. Power outages in the U.S. are rising at concerning rates affecting millions of people every year. The leading causes driving outages are climate change, increased energy demand and outdated grid.
EVs have revolutionized mobility. They delivered on the promise of providing an alternative to the fossil fuel economy but did not stop there. Besides dropping emissions, EVs will soon self-drive, alleviate traffic ways and bring traffic accident statistics down. The machine that primarily served as a means of transportation is now connected to do much more.
GM partnered with California’s Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to develop a new tech that would allow users affected by power outages to use their EVs as backup power sources during an outage. California is one of the most affected states in the U.S. by power outages. Users who generally depend on backup generators that run on gas will soon have a more eco-friendly alternative if General Motors succeeds.
GM says they are reimagining the use of EVs as a backup to power the essential needs of homes safely. GM tech will create a bi-directional charging technology that will work both ways between a house and a car. The company plans to have more than one million EV units in the streets of the U.S. by 2025. The pilot testing vehicle-to-home interconnections will expand to more significant customer trails by 2022.
A recent study of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) revealed that 2020 broke all historical records for power outages in the U.S. Extreme weather, outdated grids and utility practices were linked as causes. The hurricane season hit Louisiana, affecting millions. Tropical Storm Isaias blacked out Connecticut. Hurricane Ida affected 1.2 million customers in eight states. Finally, a staggering 4.5 million were hit by the extreme cold in Texas. Lives were lost during the storm and in the aftermath, as power outages affected energy grids, heat, emergency, and hospital equipment and water and gas pipes froze.
The infrastructure bill passed by Congress has set aside $65 billion to update the power grid. Outages are, however, expected to continue. New backup energy systems are not only needed to keep the power flowing but are critical for the economy and can save lives during an extreme event. In California, where GM will begin its test pilot, drought and wildfires affect residents daily. Vehicle-to-home connections could be a significant breakthrough for the state, the country and the world.
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