back to article GM races after Tesla with battery pack tech and solar deal

General Motors' newest endeavor is a business unit dedicated to producing energy storage systems – and the automaker left no doubts about who it sees as its top competitor in the space: Tesla.  That new unit will be called GM Energy, which will oversee two new product lines – GM's Ultium Home and Ultium Commercial batteries – …

  1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Show me the setup

    The non-car applications are the real game-changers once they get big enough.

    Power companies are trying to increase home hookup fees to offset cheaper energy from solar panels. Existing battery systems won't comfortably carry you through a week of cloudy weather. You'd need to be in the 200+ kW/h range or stay connected to the grid and pay the hookup fees. At the moment, storage is at least 10x the hookup costs.

    The interesting question is: When do increases in hookup fees meet declining costs of big batteries? That's when the power grid collapses into small co-ops everywhere you can place solar panels.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Show me the setup

      .. and that collective would be the perfect place to place some of the larger storage systems out there. Non Tesla, I'd imagine. Or is that non-Twitter now?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bring on the competition!

    Waitlist for a Tesla Powerall in the UK is just over 12 months from order to install (as of yesterday, according to the installer I ordered it from). Price has gone up too, thank you very much Mr Kwarteng. Trickle-down economics in action.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bring on the competition!

      > Waitlist for a Tesla Powerall in the UK is just over 12 months

      Consider yourself lucky. Put four wheels and a screen on that and you'll be looking at two years and counting. :-P

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another one of those headlines

    > GM races after Tesla

    It does indeed. A long, long way after.

    This time last year, Ms Barra was backing another company that was "racing after Tesla", With an engineless truck being pushed down a hill.

  4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Swappable battey packs

    I was reading an article the other about EV taxis in China using swappable battery packs for a 5 minute "recharge" instead of being laid up and not earning for hours at a time, or killing the batteries with too many fast charges. I wonder how that happened? Some sort of government mandate? All taxis are the same make/model? Manufactures actually co-operated? Whatever the cause, it seems "standardisation" can work.

    From speaking to local taxi drivers (only a sample of two, so not exactly a useful sample size!), it seems their biggest concern is the charging time meaning they aren't earning if they can't do a full day on a charge. That may depend on where they work/drive but could mean turning down longer journeys. Apart from that reference to Chinese taxis, I don't think I've seen any other EV advertised as being easy to swap out a battery. It's be nice if GM decided to go down that route and potentially make the "standard" open source. That'd help them and everyone else who chose to follow.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Swappable battey packs

      > I don't think I've seen any other EV advertised as being easy to swap out a battery.

      Years ago Tesla did consider the idea. IIRC they demonstrated swapping out the battery in under 90 seconds.

      I don't know why they didn't pursue that idea, but given that they did try it and that clearly they're not stupid, there must have been something about it that wasn't workable at mass scale (although it could possibly work in specific scenarios, such as the one you describe).

      1. Great Bu

        Re: Swappable battey packs

        Swappable battery packs did not do well because people didn't want the battery lease model - you own the car but not the battery and don't have much control over what quality of battery they swap into your car every time you change it. You might end up with a brand new battery with 100% range or a 10-year old one with 60% range at "full" charge. It would be like filling up with petrol, paying for a full tank but getting a randomly determined amount of fuel between 40 and 70 liters.....

        The F150 lightning was specifically designed to have easily swapped battery packs but that only really works for big fleet owners who can afford to keep spare stocks of batteries back at base that they also directly own and maintain to switch in to vehicles to keep them on the road (e.g. Amazon delivery vehicles coming back to the warehouse to re-load with intercrap* switching out batteries at the same time, keeping the one vehicle running productively 24/7).

        *Crap you ordered off the internet.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like