Detroit: General Motors Co (GM.N) is expanding beyond car making, with plans to offer energy storage and management services to private and commercial customers through its new GM Energy unit in a move that places it in significantly greater more noteworthy rivalry with Tesla Inc (TSLA.O).
GM Energy will bundle the current Ultium Charge 360 public charging service with two new units, Ultium Home and Ultium Commercial, that will offer fixed storage batteries, as well as solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells, the company said on Tuesday.
“We’re getting into the entire ecosystem of energy management,” GM executive Travis Hester said in an interview.
“Our competition in this space on the (automaker) side is only Tesla, which is a strong energy management company,” added Hester, who heads EV Growth Operations. “There are a lot of analogies you can draw with Tesla.”
Tesla’s seven-year-old energy generation and storage business, which incorporates solar panels and fixed batteries, lost $129 million last year on incomes of $2.8 billion.
As Ford Motor Co (F.N) does with its F-150 Lightning, the Silverado EV will have a bi-directional capacity, which implies it will be able to feed electricity back into the home during a power outage.
GM’s commercial service will offer comparable capability to businesses, through bigger fixed storage units as well as microgrids connected to hydrogen fuel cells developed by the automaker. Businesses thus actually will be able to sell energy back to utilities during peak power consumption periods.
GM will team with SunPower Corp (SPWR.O) to provide customers with solar panels to upgrade energy generation.
“This is a new space for us,” Hester said. “We have core competencies in vehicles and batteries, in cell chemistry, and scale manufacturing. Put that together with our expertise in fuel cells, our dealer network, what we’ve been doing with OnStar and connectivity, and it seems like an obvious step for us.”