USA: GM & Bechtel JV to tackle charging stations


General Motors plans to set up a joint venture with the construction company Bechtel to set up a network of thousands of rapid charging stations for electric vehicles in the USA. However, the two companies do not want to invest their own money in the project, but are in talks with investors who are to finance the network.

The move comes at an important stage for GM, who plans to introduce a total of 20 electric vehicles by 2023. Furthermore, the company has passed the crucial 200,000 vehicle mark some time ago, meaning that subsidies from the federal US government no longer apply to the carmaker. Since then, the American company has made some fairly bold moves to bring the US government on board with electrification, as well as restructure the company fittingly for the conversion to electric mobility.

While support from the government has not been very forthcoming under the current administration, General Motors has made  some very specific ideas of how they will lead the brand into the electric age using their subsidiaries and brands. The decision to start setting up charging infrastructure across the US is vital if they plan to reach their next step, as a recent AAA survey shows that drivers are interested in purchasing electric vehicles, but are worried about the availability of charging stations, also known as “range anxiety”.

The fast charging network of GM and Bechtel will not be limited to motorways, but will also be set up in densely populated cities. While GM will provide “the data and expertise needed to place chargers in the locations where they can best be used,” Bechtel is adding their own expertise in engineering and construction for the project. Funding will be provided by setting up a separate corporation to build the network, which will be funded by investment from other companies. No mention was made of who would be funding the joint venture, but stated that “discussions are ongoing”. Keith Hennessy, president of Bechtel is convinced that the plan will work out well: “We think that, with the involvement of two companies like General Motors and Bechtel, that this is going to be attractive to outside investors.”


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