Home Battery Storage: Are Car Companies Going Beyond EV Charging Systems?

Highlights :

  • Several automakers are going beyond EVs and charging systems to provide home energy products such as home battery storage systems.
Home Battery Storage: Are Car Companies Going Beyond EV Charging Systems?

The advent of electric vehicles as a new mode of mobility also boosted the market for electric vehicle (EV) charging systems worldwide. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 30 per cent between 2021-2028. While the rise of EVs resulting in the growth of the EV charging market is understandable, automakers are now also making a case for solar panels and home battery storage systems.

Several automakers are going beyond EVs and EV charging systems to provide Home Energy Products such as home battery storage systems. Hyundai, General Motors, Ford, and even Tesla, are some of the biggest automakers now venturing new technologies and concepts.

Automakers beyond EV charging

Most of the initiatives by automakers in going beyond EV charging systems are partnerships with companies that have experience selling energy products. While some of the automakers have recently explored these new possibilities, Tesla has been combining EVs and rooftop solar for years. The all-electric vehicle company has in-house production and sales of EVs, solar panels and battery storage systems.

Hyundai officially launched Hyundai Home in the US. Hyundai partnering with Electrum combining Electrum’s home energy expertise and national network of certified installers with Hyundai’s leadership in electric mobility. The partnership aims to develop a one-stop online marketplace to connect homeowners to solar panels, energy storage systems, EV chargers and local installers.

GM Energy, a new business unit of General Motors, is working with a large rooftop solar company SunPower Corp. to provide solar panels and home energy storage for residential and commercial users. GM Energy sells a variety of products for homes and businesses, including solar panels. American automaker Ford also went into partnership with Sunrun last year to sell EV charging, solar panels and other products to customers buying Ford EVs.

Will EV features offer backup battery for house?

This new interest of automakers in home battery storage systems and other home energy products is also linked to the idea of potential features of an EV – the ability to act as a backup battery for a house or even for the grid. The system may need some upgrades both on the customer’s home power system for the import of electricity and the car built to export electricity.

Electric car batteries can hold approximately 60 kWh of energy, enough to power an average U.S. household for a couple of days. Much larger EVs like buses and trucks have even bigger batteries and can provide more. If EVs got equipped with something called vehicle-to-grid or vehicle-to-home technology, they can also be used to keep the lights on in emergencies.

Several automakers have already started delivering on these needs indicating the possibility of EV owners soon using their vehicles to keep the lights on during power outages. With such a utility, grid operators will also be able to pay customers for the ability to tap into large numbers of EV batteries to provide power to the community at times of high demand. So far, only a few vehicles can charge a house this way, requiring special equipment.

Pioneers in the Technology

With its F-150 Lightning pickup, Ford became one of the earliest automakers to offer the ability for customers to power their homes with an electric truck when the grid goes dark. Other firms may soon follow the new trend as technology becomes omnipresent. For now, the automakers have taken their first step toward delivering home energy solutions with solar panels and Home battery storage systems.

GM Energy has two versions of its service – Ultium Home for households, and Ultium Commercial for businesses. The upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV pickup will be among the models built to work with GM Energy products and services.

Toyota released its new storage battery system based on EV battery technology for residential use. Toyota claims that it provides electricity to homes both for normal usage and emergencies.

…a long shot

While it sounds interesting that automakers are thinking beyond regular EVs and chargers and that one may charge a house with an EV, it is still probably a long shot. In long run, it is important how these upgraded vehicles would interact with grids while at the same time the upgrades must not complicate it for the customers. The concept is still new and only time will tell how its future unfolds.

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Junaid Shah

Junaid holds a Master of Engineering degree in Construction & Management. Being a civil engineering postgraduate and using his technical prowess, he has channeled his passion for writing in the environmental niche.