GM's Electric Trucks Could Pack a Game-Changing Charging Feature

It could offer a lot of flexibility for owners and fleets.

chevrolet 2024 silverado ev driving on a wooded path with trees and mountains in the background
Chevrolet

GM packed seemingly every trick imaginable into the GMC Hummer EV SUT. But a recently awarded GM patent (first spotted by MotorAuthority) could offer an exciting charging upgrade for GM's Ultium trucks, including the Hummer and the upcoming Silverado EV.

The larger Ultium trucks use dual-layer battery packs. The packs work in concert to power the truck. But they can also function as independent entities. The GM patent would endow the truck with a second bi-directional charging port to use that functionality.

Having two charging ports won't let you hook up two 800-volt charging cables to get effective 1,600-volt charging and take half the time charging. If you hook up two cables to charge, the vehicle would cap each at the 400-volt level. But on a fast-charger, the second port would allow the vehicle to send power back out while charging to power a range of things like your campsite power supply, the quad bike you're towing, work equipment or even another electric vehicle.

This patent could also be a considerable advantage for Level 2 charging — the sort of chargers people will have installed in their homes. A truck owner would be able to hook two of those chargers up at once for faster charging. You may be picturing a Hummer EV SUT owner squatting on two public chargers in a profoundly on-brand move. But that feature could be handy for fleets — that may have a series of Level 2 chargers set up — to get trucks back on the road more quickly.

Even if having a second charge port would only be a mild benefit, the electric truck wars will be as fierce and competitive as the combustion ones. And the second bidirectional charging port would be a feature the rival F-150 Lightning does not have.

GM filed for the patent in 2020. It was just awarded this month. It's not yet clear whether GM will offer a second charge port on its Ultium trucks and, if so, when. Current plans have GM beginning production of the Silverado EV work truck in spring 2023, which would probably be the earliest application if GM does go ahead with it.

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