GMC’s Hummer EVs Can Power Homes and Charge Other EVs

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Bi-directional charging: It’s the new must-have EV feature, especially for those who intend to venture off-road. That’s because half the fun of off-roading is providing assistance to other off-roaders who lack your driving skills, your gear, or both. As trails begin to fill with silent, electric climbers, it’s inevitable some will run low on juice, affording Samaritans with batteries as big as their hearts (or egos) an opportunity to share surplus electrons. Rivian has announced it will offer a cord with a charging plug on both ends capable of juicing up another Rivian, and now we’ve learned that the GMC Hummer EV Pickup and SUVs’ Power Station cord (standard on all but the base model) will offer similar capability.

What is Bi-Directional Charging?

When charging an EV, alternating current (AC) from the power grid gets converted to direct current (DC) energy for storage in the onboard battery. In the case of level 1 (120-volt) and level 2 (240-volt) charging, this is generally done by a vehicle’s onboard charger (fast chargers do the conversion themselves and dispense DC current). That onboard charger must be engineered differently to allow export of battery energy to another vehicle, to your home, or even back to the power company.

How Much Power Can the Hummer EVs Export?

The onboard bi-directional charger can export a healthy 25 amps of AC current. That works out to 3 kW of power if connecting 120-volt loads like your fridge or camp trailer, and 6 kW if you can manage to connect your 240-volt electric range or AC unit.

What Vehicles Offer Bi-Directional Charging?

Bi-directional charging has been supported by the CHAdeMO DC fast-charging standard for quite some time, so the Nissan Leaf has offered the feature since 2013. The catch is you must connect it to a bi-directional wall charger unit like the Wallbox Quasar. It’s honestly one of the only reasons to mourn the impending demise of CHAdeMO. Other vehicles available with this format in the U.S. include the Bollinger B1, Kia Soul EV (2015-2019), and Mitsubishi’s iMiev and Outlander PHEV. At least via a typical power cord (so, not true bi-directional tech), Ford’s F-150 Hybrid has already proven itself capable of delivering enough power to keep key home appliances alive during a power outage.

When Will CCS Support Bi-Directional Charging?

CharIN, a global association dedicated to promoting the Combined Charging System (CCS) is hard at work attempting first to enable vehicle-to-home (behind the meter) bi-directional solutions, for folks that may have a large photovoltaic array, a Tesla Powerwall, and an EV, and want to live off the power grid as much as possible by borrowing EV battery energy before drawing from the grid. Step two will support vehicle-to-grid charging (in front of the meter), with an implementation target of 2025. Only when the growing fleet of EVs using the CCS plug standard can join the V2G network will we begin to feel the benefit of power sharing in times of peak stress to lessen the blow of the recent mass outages in Texas. BMW, Honda, and Volkswagen have all announced plans to incorporate bi-directional charging and energy management in their onboard chargers within the next few years.

Will a GMC Hummer EV be Able to Booster-Charge Any EV?

At the top we mentioned Rivian’s ability to charge another Rivian. That’s a distinction the GMC Hummer EV team has yet to make, and one that shouldn’t be hard for Rivian to relax. All charging plugs include a communications link through which the vehicle communicates data regarding vehicle type, battery conditions, owner’s billing info, etc. before any electrons flow. Thus brand chauvinism (or altruism) should be easily programmable.

Does Tesla Offer Bi-Directional Charging?

Rumors circulated a year ago suggesting Tesla had baked bi-directional charging capability into the Model 3 for subsequent unlocking over the air, but those rumors were instigated by a vehicle teardown engineer who mistook some diodes (which limit energy flow to one direction only) for transistors (which conditionally allow flow in both directions) and have since been debunked. Tesla has confirmed that its Cybertruck will include high-wattage AC outlets like those in Ford’s F-150 Power Boost models, but it’s still unclear whether these will be fed by a bi-directional onboard charger or a high-capacity inverter. Tesla has long offered a CHAdeMO adapter, but don’t expect to use this to be able to feed your Wallbox Quasar bi-directional charger.

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