GM is starting an energy storage subsidiary to take on the Tesla Powerwall

GM expanding beyond car making towards energy services

General Motors is going ahead with its competition with Tesla in every aspect. The carmaker is going beyond making cars and plans to offer energy storage and management services. These services will be provided to residential and commercial customers through its new GM energy unit in a move to compete.

GM is starting an energy storage subsidiary to take on the Tesla Powerwall
Image credits- CNN

Furthermore, GM Energy will bundle the existing Ultium Charge 360 public charging service with two new units, Ultium Home and Ultium Commercial, that will offer stationary storage batteries, as well as solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells, the company said on Tuesday. GM executive Travis Hester said, “We’re getting into the entire ecosystem of energy management. Our competition in this space on the (automaker) side is really only Tesla, which is a strong energy management company. There are a lot of analogies you can draw with Tesla.”

On the other side, Tesla’s seven-year-old energy generation and storage business includes solar panels and stationary batteries, lost $129 million last year on revenues of $2.8 billion. Hester said GM sees a total addressable market of $120 billion to $150 billion in energy storage and management. He declined to provide a revenue projection for GM Energy.

Energy storage

The Ultium Home service will offer stationary wall boxes, similar to Tesla’s Powerwall units, with sales and installation scheduled to start in late 2023, timed to the launch of the first Chevrolet Silverado EV trucks aimed at private customers. As Ford Motor Co does with its F-150 Lightning, the Silverado EV will have the bi-directional capability, which means it will be able to feed electricity back into the home during a power outage.

GM’s commercial service will offer a similar capability to businesses, through larger stationary storage units as well as microgrids connected to hydrogen fuel cells developed by the automaker. Businesses in turn will be able to sell energy back to utilities during peak power consumption periods. GM will team with SunPower Corp to provide customers with solar panels to enhance energy generation. “This is a new space for us,” Hester said. “We have core competencies in vehicles and batteries, 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.”

Ford Motor has a similar deal with PG&E for its electric F-150 Lightning. It also has partnered with Sunrun as a preferred installer of home energy systems. Installations of those systems began earlier this year.