GM pursues Tesla with battery pack technology and solar deal • The Register

General Motors’ newest company is a unit dedicated to making energy storage systems — and the automaker has made it clear who it sees as its biggest competitor in this space: Tesla.

This new entity will be called GM Energy and will oversee two new product lines — GM’s Ultium Home and Ultium Commercial batteries — along with the automaker’s Ultium Charge 360 ​​power storage system.

Its goal is to build a network of residential and commercial batteries that can charge vehicles, use solar power, and sell electricity to support the main grid during times of congestion, similar to Tesla’s powerwall-to-grid program in California.

GM also announced a partnership with solar energy company SunPower Corp, which will be the preferred installer for this latest battery gear and likely offers the option to top up storage using solar panels.

Similar power-to-the-grid systems are also available from Toyota, albeit only in Japan, while Ford’s F150 Lightning is capable of delivering power to a home and is being tested for its ability to feed power to the grid deliver.

Who GM sees as its biggest competitor is all about Tesla, Travis Hester, GM’s chief EV officer, told Reuters.

“We’re penetrating the whole energy management ecosystem… Our competition in this space on the (automaker) side is really just Tesla, which is a strong energy management company. There are many analogies that can be drawn with Tesla,” Hester told the news outlet.

GM CEO Mary Barra has separately said she intends to topple Tesla as the leading electric vehicle maker, and GM executives say they could do so by 2025.

show me the battery

The battery brand Ultium is not entirely new; GM produces devices under this label with South Korea’s LG from their joint venture Ultium Cells. Last July, the JV received $2.5 billion from the US Department of Energy to build three battery assembly plants in the American Midwest. These plants appear to be designed for the production of batteries for electric vehicles.

As for these new home and commercial battery packs from Ultium, details are lacking. GM said the batteries will go on sale at the same time as the 2024 Silverado EV, which is scheduled for release in fall 2023.

A single infographic [PDF] on GM Energy’s website does little to clarify what the system is capable of, only providing numbers that say the new Silverado EV will be able to keep a house’s lights on for up to 21 days. Of course, “weather conditions, battery life, device power efficiency and other external factors can affect duration,” GM said.

That’s far from satisfying for those who want to know how much competition Ultium will be for Tesla and other home power systems. Unfortunately, a GM spokesperson told us the store was not providing hardware specs at the time and that they “would be provided in future updates”. ® GM pursues Tesla with battery pack technology and solar deal • The Register

Rick Schindler

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