GM will expand vehicle-to-home (V2H) bidirectional charging technology across its retail portfolio of Ultium-based electric vehicles by model year 2026. The first vehicles to receive the technology include the previously announced 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST, followed by the 2024 GMC Sierra EV Denali Edition 1, 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV, 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV, 2024 Cadillac LYRIQ and the upcoming Cadillac ESCALADE IQ, which will be revealed on Aug. 9.
Building on the company’s plan to deliver a growing suite of energy management products and services through GM Energy, V2H unlocks additional value for EV drivers, who will be able to transfer energy from their vehicles to a properly equipped home when desired. The technology allows consumers to store and transfer energy to help offset electricity needs during peak demand days and mitigate the impact of power outages, making the transition to an all-electric future even more compelling.
Cadillac today unveiled the first-ever all-electric 2025 ESCALADE IQ, a reimagination of the luxury full-size SUV experience, brimming with iconic design, the highest level of craftsmanship and the latest automotive technology.
Offering a Cadillac-estimated 450 miles of range, the ESCALADE IQ elevates the driving experience with a curved pillar-to-pillar 55-inch total diagonal LED display, available Super Cruise® driver assistance technology, vehicle-to-home bidirectional charging technology with GM Energy’s available Ultium Home products, luxurious appointments with a bold interior and exterior design, no-compromise performance, and zero tailpipe emissions.
Lisa, our ageing experimental Nissan LEAF, was conveying us towards a visit to the seaside in Exmouth when she popped into Exeter Services for a quick “splash and dash” charging session. Sadly it was not to be:
There’s nothing quick or dashing about waiting in the queue for a vacant Gridserve CHAdeMO charging connector. Especially when there’s a Tesla at the head of that queue, and there seems to be a vacancy in the adjacent serried ranks of Tesla superchargers:
Then on Monday Lisa conveyed us to the seaside in North Devon:
Commercial vehicle customers looking to future-proof their business operations and transition to zero emission motoring now have an exciting new option, following the launch of the electric Nissan Townstar van.
The Townstar EV builds on the success of the e-NV200, Nissan’s previous all-electric compact van and a former UK best-seller, which was designed with business owners’ needs in mind:
The Townstar EV features a new electric powertrain optimised with intelligent energy management and battery thermal cooling, delivering a class-leading zero emission range of 183 miles (WLTP)
Boasting more than 20 technology features, the all-new Townstar EV leads the way as Nissan’s most comprehensive LCV offering to date
Electric Townstar priced from £28,400 and order book open now
It features an efficient, aerodynamic design and a powertrain optimised with intelligent energy management and battery thermal cooling. Delivering 122 PS and 245Nm of torque, the Townstar EV’s 45kWh battery offers both AC charging (11 kW or 22 kW) or DC CCS quick-charging, the latter of which enables users to charge the battery from 15% to 80% in as little as 37 minutes. Battery thermal cooling combined with the 22kW AC and 80kW DC CCS charging is standard from Acenta grade onward.
Depending on the specifications, other highlights include a payload of between 600 and 800kg and towing capacity of up to 1,500kg. The Townstar EV offers between 3.3 to 4.3 cubic metres of cargo carrying capacity – enough to carry two Euro pallets starting from the short wheelbase version.
Much like Nissan’s earlier announcement of the Ariya eSUV, the electric Townstar UK launch makes no mention of either AC or DC DIScharging. Are Nissan hedging their bets between AC and DC V2x capabilities, or have they completely forgotten about the potential benefits of bi-directional power transfer?
Note in particular the part about “damage to trees and power lines”. By Tuesday evening Pacific Gas and Electric had announced on their web site that:
As of 10 p.m., approximately 154,000 customers are without power in PG&E’s service area as heavy northwest winds impact electric equipment. More than 124,000 customers have been restored since 6 a.m.
PG&E crews will continue working through the night, safely and as quickly as possible to restore customers.
The NWS’s Weather Prediction Center also issued the following short term forecast for Wednesday:
A major winter storm is expected to deliver a large swath of heavy snow from the West Coast to the Northeast through Thursday…
The arrival of a large arctic air mass from Canada interacting with two energetic troughs/fronts forecast to move through the western half of the country will bring numerous weather hazards and highly anomalous temperatures coast-to-coast this week with almost all of the country experiencing some form of notable weather.
Yesterday morning the United Kingdom’s Met Office issued a press release about the impending arrival of a disruptive weather system:
A low-pressure system which will bring high winds and rain to parts of the UK has been named Storm Otto by the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI).
Storm Otto will move east across the far north of the UK from the early hours of Friday morning, likely bringing gusts in excess of 75mph to some northern areas.
Met Office Chief Meteorologist Andy Page said: “Storm Otto will bring high winds and rain to the UK, with some northern parts of Scotland and the northeast of England likely to get the strongest gusts of wind, possibly in excess of 75mph. Warnings have been issued and could be updated as Storm Otto develops.
“There’s a chance of travel disruption and high-sided vehicles could be particularly prone to disrupted plans in this set-up. There’s associated rain with Storm Otto, with 40-50 mm of rain likely to fall over parts of western Scotland.”
Potential impacts highlighted in the warning also the likelihood of large waves, especially in North Sea coasts, as well as a chance of some damage to buildings and infrastructure.
This was accompanied by a weather warning for high winds from Storm Otto:
Scottish and Southern Electricity then issued a press release stating that:
Based on current forecasts, a rapid, deep-forming low-pressure system will move in from the west of Scotland late on Thursday evening, with gusts of up to 80mph expected to hit the Western Isles from around 5 am on Friday. As the low pressure moves eastward on Friday morning, gusts of up to 65mph are forecast across most of mainland Scotland, with 80mph gales expected in Orkney and Caithness as the low pressure moves into the North Sea.
In preparation for this unsettled weather, we have enacted our well-established resilience plans and are increasing and moving additional standby resources to key locations in anticipation of any potential damage.
Our dedicated customer service teams have proactively contacted over 130,000 customers on our Priority Services Register to offer additional advice and support and are calling those in high categories of vulnerability. We continue to coordinate with local resilience partners to aid preparations and support any planning for welfare requirements.
Advice for customers We are urging people not to approach any damaged equipment and instead, to report it by calling 105 or via our Power Track App and engineers will investigate as soon as possible.
Customers are also being encouraged to be prepared for the possibility of disruption to supplies by:
Saving the emergency power cut number – 105 – to your phone to use if your power goes off, or if you see any damage to the electricity network
Downloading SSEN’s Power Track app to give you details of power cuts and restoration times. You can also report power cuts and network damage through the Power Track app
Going to SSEN’s website where there is a wealth of advice and information on how to prepare for a possible loss of power
The Met Office didn’t explicitly mention damage to electricity distribution infrastructure, but here is their forecast from midnight last night for the maximum wind gust speed across the UK this morning:
The power cut map for the north of Scotland from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks at 9:45 is showing a total of 103 “unplanned outages”:
Here’s a closer look at the worst affected area:
Further south, here is this morning’s power cut map from Scottish Power:
Further south still, here is Northern Powergrid’s power cut map for North-East England:
Once again thousands of homes and businesses are now without a supply of electricity. What should be done about this apparently endlessly recurring sequence of disasters?
Could distributed energy storage help? Whether of the “static” variety or “mobile” through the use of vehicle-to-home technology!
[Edit – February 17th 14:00]
At 14:00 GMT the SSEN power cut map now reports “143 unplanned outages”:
It seems as though Storm Otto has also blacked out north-east England, since the Northern Powergrid power cuts map currently looks like this:
[Edit – February 17th 17:00]
In its 4:30 PM update SSEN provides information on its deployment of mobile food vans:
As of 4.30pm this afternoon, electricity supplies have been successfully restored to over 27,000 properties, with around 16,000 properties currently off supply.
The areas that continue to be impacted are mainly concentrated in Aberdeenshire, including parts of Hatton, Huntly, Insch, Maud, Mintlaw, Banchory and surrounding areas, rural Moray and pockets of customers across the Highlands.
In preparation for Storm Otto, SSEN enacted its well-established resilience plans, mobilising additional teams and equipment to the main areas forecast to be impacted. Mobile generation will be utilised to support with restoration efforts.
Additional resources have been deployed to the main areas still affected, with around 600 field and support staff doing all they can to restore power to those who remain off supply and ensure customers are supported.
SSEN expects its teams to continue to make significant progress in restoring power to customers throughout the course of today and into this evening. However, due to the widespread extent of the damage and ongoing challenges accessing faults due to fallen trees and road closures, full restoration of customers will extend into the weekend, with some customers in rural areas to be off supply for more than 48 hours.
SSEN recognises the impact this may have on customers and continues to provide proactive updates, working closely with local resilience partners to coordinate welfare arrangements and identify customers who may need additional support. SSEN has proactively contacted over 130,000 customers on its Priority Services Register and is calling those in the highest categories of vulnerability to check on their welfare and provide additional support.
Mobile food vans are being deployed to the main areas still off supply, with locations coordinated with local resilience partners. Locations and timings will be updated on SSEN’s website and social media channels, with provisions currently being established in the following locations and expected to be serving food from around 5pm:
In line with SSEN’s established welfare policy, any customer who has been off supply for longer than 12 hours is also entitled to claim up to £30 for food, per day. Customers are asked to keep copies of receipts for any claims.
[Edit – February 17th 20:30]
At 8:30 PM Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ power cut map still reports 123 unplanned outages:
Scottish Power don’t reveal a headline number of faults, but here’s their current power cut map:
In the north-east of England Northern Powergrid do seem to be making good progress in repairing the remaining power cuts in their region:
[Edit – February 18th 9:00]
On Saturday morning Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ power cut map reports 112 unplanned outages:
Scottish Power Energy Networks still don’t seem to be reporting on the number of their customers affected by Storm Otto, but here’s their current power cut map, which suggests they still have some way to go to fix all the faults:
In its 8:30 AM update Northern Powergrid state that:
There is just one customer from Storm Otto still off supply this morning.
It was a fantastic effort by our teams to restore power to 21,595 customers as a result of the storm, across what was a challenging day.
The team worked late into the night, restoring supplies to the remaining 91 customers still off supply, however, we couldn’t get a safe position for a generator for the final customer. The repair team are mobilised, we’re taking care of the customer and are hopeful to have their supply restored this morning.
Once again, we apologise for the inconvenience caused for our customers as a result of Storm Otto and we appreciate their patience whilst we’ve been on with repairs throughout the course of Friday, and through the night into Saturday morning.
However their power cut map at 9 AM doesn’t look quite so promising:
[Edit – February 18th 15:30]
On Saturday afternoon SSEN have reduced the number of unplanned outages on their electricity distribution network to 81:
SPEN’s power cut map currently looks like this:
Northern Powergrid state on their web site that “our services are running normally”. If they say so:
[Edit – February 19th 9:30]
Sunday morning’s 9 AM update from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks reports that:
Following further progress last night and early this morning, as of 9am today, electricity supplies have been successfully restored to over 43,000 properties, with less than 100 properties currently off supply. These mainly consist of single premises or small clusters of customers in rural locations across Aberdeenshire.
SSEN’s teams will remain in contact with those customers who remain off supply to make them aware of their estimated restoration times, where this is known; and encourage them to take up SSEN’s welfare offering. SSEN remain confident all customers who remain off supply will be reconnected by 6pm this evening at the latest.
SSEN continues to work closely with local resilience partners to coordinate welfare arrangements and identify those customers who may need additional support, with mobile food vans continuing to support customers in the main areas still affected, with the following locations serving food and drinks:
Maud, Market Street outside the social club (from 8am today) Turriff, location TBC (expected from 11.30am today)
Mark Rough, Operations Director at SSEN Distribution, said:
“After further progress reconnecting customers late last light, our teams have been back out since first light this morning in the final push to repair damage and restore power to those remaining customers who remain off supply.
“We expect to make good progress throughout the course of today and remain confident all customers will be back reconnected by this evening at the latest.
“We continue to work closely with our resilience partners to support our customers as required, particularly those on our Priority Services Register, and would encourage anyone who may need additional support to contact our dedicated teams on the power cut helpline, 105.”
SSEN’s power cut map still reports 18 unplanned outages, but at least one of those is new:
Scottish Power Energy Networks seem to have returned to “normal operations”:
Northern Powergrid’s power cut map currently looks like this:
It has just been brought to my attention that at the beginning of this month Enphase Energy issued a press release announcing that:
Enphase Energy, Inc., a global energy technology company and the world’s leading supplier of microinverter-based solar and battery systems, announced today a successful demonstration of its bidirectional EV charger enabling vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) functionality.
This product will leverage the power of grid-forming IQ8™ Microinverters and Ensemble™ energy management technology to seamlessly integrate into Enphase® home energy systems. In addition, Enphase’s bidirectional EV charger is expected to work with most EVs that support standards such as CCS (Combined Charging System) and CHAdeMO (a Japanese charging standard).
Here too is a still image from the video, which once again looks remarkably reminiscent of the decade old V2G UK banner at the top of this article!
The press release continues:
In addition to charging an EV, Enphase’s bidirectional charger will support the following functionality:
Vehicle-to-home (V2H) –enables the EV battery to provide uninterrupted power to a home during a power outage. Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) –allows the EV battery to share energy with the grid to help relieve the strain on electric utilities during times of peak energy demand. Green charging –sends clean solar energy directly to the EV battery.
Raghu Belur, co-founder and chief products officer at Enphase Energy, said that:
The new bidirectional EV charger, along with Enphase’s solar and battery storage system, can be controlled from the Enphase App, empowering homeowners to make, use, save, and sell their own power. We are working with standards organizations, EV manufacturers, and regulators to bring this charger to market in 2024.”
Since I sit on numerous EV (dis)charging and energy management standard development committees it would be very interesting to discover precisely which “standards organizations, EV manufacturers, and regulators” Enphase is working with!
Mohammad Alkuran, Ph.D., senior director of systems engineering at Enphase Energy, added that:
“ The Enphase bidirectional EV charger is the next step on our roadmap to building a solar-powered, all-in-one home energy system that further unlocks electrification, resilience, savings, and control for homeowners. This product will be a game changer for homeowners who want maximum control over their energy usage.”
For those of us that are more technically inclined Enphase Energy has also published a white paper about their bidirectional EV charger. Here’s an extract:
The Enphase Bidirectional EV Charger is part of the Ensemble energy management technology, which is the heart of the Enphase® Energy System™. The Enphase Energy System is a complete solution that produces, stores, monitors, exports, controls, and analyzes the energy in your home.
To achieve this, Enphase Energy System brings solar, batteries, other energy resources like generators, fuel cells, connected appliances and software together in one complete package so that a homeowner can make, use, save, and sell their own power—all through the Enphase mobile app.
Enphase has pioneered power conversion devices called IQ8™ Microinverters. These microinverters are best-in class power electronics components that convert power and comply with standards like UL 1741 for grid reliability functions and IEEE 1547 for interconnection of distributed energy resources (DER). These microinverters can create their own grid, also known as microgrid. They can operate in on-grid mode (as grid-tied) and off-grid mode (creating a microgrid). Enphase microinverter technology is at the forefront of the grid interface for our solar microinverters, storage batteries, and EV chargers.
The Enphase Bidirectional EV Charger leverages Enphase’s IQ Microinverter technology and IQ™ Battery architecture. When the charger is used with a vehicle that supports bidirectional charging, it enables the transfer of power and communication between the Enphase Energy System and the EV. The combination of the EV and the bidirectional charger is similar to an Enphase IQ Battery and can be controlled in an equivalent fashion.
The use of the terms “grid-forming” and “microgrid” is of particular interest to yours truly, since not all V2x charging stations are so well endowed.
In a press release yesterday the Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced that:
PG&E has received approval to establish the nation’s first “vehicle-to-grid” export compensation mechanism for commercial electric vehicle charging customers in its California service area. The V2G export rate promotes EV adoption by providing upfront incentives to help commercial customers offset fleet costs and delivers an innovative solution for these vehicles to export power back to support the grid during peak energy demand periods.
The groundbreaking settlement agreement with the Vehicle-Grid Integration Council (VGIC), Electrify America LLC and the Public Advocates Office at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was adopted by the CPUC on Oct. 20, 2022. The rate is expected to increase participation from V2G school buses and other electric vehicles in response to near-real-time grid conditions and will be available to charging equipment paired with stationary energy storage systems, which can support the grid and provide backup power to charge vehicles during grid outages.
More than 420,000 EVs have been sold in PG&E’s service area, representing one in six EVs in the country. As large vehicles like school buses and commercial fleets continue to electrify, the opportunity grows for these vehicles to serve as crucial, flexible grid resources to support a more reliable, affordable and efficient energy system. Greater volumes of these vehicles on the road comes at a critical time, as peak energy demand challenges California’s grid and novel solutions like V2G emerge…
As part of PG&E’s 2030 targets, the company is aiming to proactively prepare the grid for 12,000 GWh of EV-related electric load and improve processes to enable rapid, safe EV energization and interconnection. It’s also working to enable 2 million EVs to participate in vehicle-grid integration applications, allowing EVs to be a cornerstone of both reliability and resilience.
In a press release yesterday eVan/eBus manufacturer Arrival announced that:
Scaling production in the Bicester microfactory requires significant further investment in hard tooling and working capital and the Company has determined that the benefits of such an investment would be best directed to the US market.
As a result, today the Company announced a plan to restructure its business to focus resources on a family of Van products for the US market as well as its enabling technologies – including core components, composite materials, mobile robotics, and software-defined factories. The Company will continue to produce a small number of Vans in Bicester to optimize microfactory processes and support trials with customers.
The major factors in the Company’s decision to shift focus to developing its US business included the tax credit recently announced as part of the Inflation Reduction Act – expected to offer between $7,500 to $40,000 for commercial vehicles, the large addressable market size, and substantially better margins.
The business plans to raise capital to fund the commercialization of these vehicle programs in the US and is exploring all funding and strategic opportunities needed to bring the Vans designed for the US into production at the company’s second Microfactory in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In order to extend the company’s cash runway, Arrival plans to further right-size the organization and cut cash intensive activities while continuing to advance its core technologies. The result of these proposals is expected to have a sizable impact on the Company’s global workforce, predominantly in the UK.
By way of some additional explanation of Arrival’s announcement, here is a chart of their share price since listing on the NASDAQ exchange:
Bi-directional charging will help when there’s a power outage or additional demand, to really help supply energy and keep everybody having the energy they need to live their lives.
Now the next phase of General Motors’ master plan to beat Tesla at the energy game has been announced, in a press release yesterday:
The introduction of Ultium Home and Ultium Commercial, which in combination with the existing Ultium Charge 360, create a holistic ecosystem of energy management products and services that will be housed under a new business unit called GM Energy.
GM Energy’s connected product and service offerings are designed to offer cohesive energy management for home, commercial and EV customers, with solutions ranging from bi-directional charging, vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) applications, to stationary storage, solar products, software applications, cloud management tools, microgrid solutions, hydrogen fuel cells and more. GM Energy’s services will also enable the sale of energy from EV and stationary storage batteries back to utilities during peak, high energy consumption periods, unlocking even more potential value for customers and increasing resiliency for the electrical grid.
Several large-scale companies across the U.S. have already agreed to work with GM Energy to provide energy solutions to customers and receive product or service offerings.
Among them is an agreement with SunPower, one of the nation’s leading solar technology and energy services providers. Together, the two companies will develop and offer customers a home energy system which will consist of integrated EV and battery solutions, solar panels and home energy storage. A primary feature of the home energy system is expected to enable drivers to deliver power to their homes with the battery in their compatible electric vehicle, designed to give them the ability to power their home’s necessities in a blackout or draw from stored energy during peak rate times. SunPower will also become a preferred installer for the home energy system and offer customers the opportunity to add solar to their home. The home energy system will be available alongside the retail launch of the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV, expected to begin production in fall 2023.
Tesla have of course yet to announce any plans for “the sale of energy from EV batteries”, but Tesla Energy predates GM Energy by several years. Will General Motors be able to catch up and overtake Tesla? Perhaps V2x technology will give GM an edge? Alternatively perhaps Tesla will also be offering V2x on their EVs by the time the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV starts production?
The upcoming, fully electric Volvo EX90, which will be revealed on November 9, will be the first Volvo car to be hardware-ready for bi-directional charging capabilities. Initially becoming available in selected markets, bi-directional charging has the potential to help you make your energy utilisation cheaper, more efficient and sustainable. Paired with smart-charging capabilities coming to the Volvo Cars smartphone app, the Volvo EX90 will allow you to charge your car when demand from the grid and prices are low – usually meaning there are more renewable sources in the energy mix – and save that stored energy to be used later.
Once available, bi-directional charging in the Volvo EX90 could enable you to power your home, as well as other electric devices.
The press release wasn’t accompanied by any images of the EX90. I suppose all will be revealed on November 9th. However there is this video, entitled “What if your car could power your life?”. A very good question, which has been on our minds here at V2G UK for over a decade:
The video doesn’t include any images of the EX90 either, but it does include Volvo’s Head of Electrification Ecosystem, Olivier Loedel, saying things like:
With the Volvo EX90 you can power your life.
You could use its battery in many ways, from topping up your electric bike when you’re out and about, to hooking up an outdoor cooking appliance for your weekend camping trip. It could even power your house during the expensive peak hours of the day.
The press release adds:
Depending on rules specific to each energy market, bi-directional charging could also allow customers to support the grid in different ways. This could include taking in more energy during times when there’s a surplus of renewable energy, or selling energy back during peak usage hours when there is more demand. If most cars have this functionality in the future, then the grid could be balanced more often. That could increase the overall sustainability of the grid by reducing potential energy waste from renewable sources at times when production outperforms demand.
and in the video Olivier adds:
Bi-directional charging will in the future become available through a customer offer including a wallbox and a Home Energy Management System that connects the car, wallbox and power meter of a house together…
Bi-directional charging could allow customers to sell electricity back to the power grid, for example during peak hours when demand is high:
Once again an EV OEM has come up with an infographic which bears a strange resemblance to the banner at the top of this page, which is now over ten years old. Apart from the cloud labelled “Volvo” that is! As Olivier puts it, “technical solutions to enable this are under way. We have done some research!”
All in all it sounds to me an awful lot like Volvo intend to deliver full blown vehicle-to-grid in the foreseeable future! However the press release does also include the following “small print”:
* Future technology and features are described, and capabilities may vary. Features may not be available in all markets and will not be standard in all markets or for all models. * The bi-directional charging offer will initially be launched in selected markets. We are currently investigating which use cases we will be able to offer in different markets. * We will equip the Volvo EX90 with the necessary hardware to support the grid, and we are currently assessing in which markets it would be possible to offer this to our customers.
Which does beget another few questions at the back of my mind. Such as:
“Will the Volvo EX90 and associated wallbox support AC or DC V2x?”,
“Will the UK be one of Volvo’s initial selected markets?”, and
“If so, when will this exciting technology finally become available to the (wo)man in the UK street?”