General Motors is cooperating with EVgo to expand the US fast-charging network by 2,700 additional stations over the next five years. The stations will have capacities from 100 kW and up to 350 kW, the first of which will be available to customers by early 2021.
The new fast-charging stations will triple the size of the EVgo network. GM says that the two companies have designed the endeavour to “leverage private investment alongside government grant and utility programs, as building out the necessary charging infrastructure ahead of market demands will require continued public-private partnership.” Both companies have said they are committed to working with key stakeholders to “facilitate the acceleration of the EV charging infrastructure needed to support ubiquitous EV adoption.”
Cathy Zoi, EVgo’s chief executive, said at a round-table press conference: “We’ve identified approximately 40 metropolitan areas. The focus of this program is on metropolitan areas. It’s not on corridors and it’s not on rural areas. Why are doing that? Because we’re seeing an increase in purchases of EVs by folks like me who live in apartments who don’t have access to charging in our buildings. We need to rely on public charging.”
She noted that “We also have seen an increase in the use of EVs by rideshare drivers. A personal vehicle driver might need to charge once a week. A rideshare driver needs to charge every day and they need convenient, fast charging because every moment of their day spent charging, they’re not actually driving people around or delivering food in this pandemic world. So what we’re looking at as part of this program is to increase that comfort in existing, new, and emerging areas of EV uptick.”
The stations installed will have capacities ranging from 100-350 kW to enable those buying GM’s upcoming electric pickups to charge at maximum capacity, since they will have a 350 kW fast charging capability. Just a couple of weeks ago General Motors announced a series of electric vehicles.
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The two companies are promising that the fast chargers will be powered exclusively by renewable energy and will be placed in locations such as grocery stores, retail outlets, entertainment centres and other “high-traffic locations”. In their press release, GM explained that “With fast charging available where people typically spend 15-30 minutes, customers can charge their vehicles in the time it takes to run their errands.”
The first of the new charging stations, most of which will apparently be able to charge at least four vehicles simultaneously, will be available to customers from early 2021. GM customers will not have any price advantage over other customers as Zoi explains, “Today, a typical EVgo session costs between $5 and $15. It will be the same thing going forward.” The charging points will be open to any brand with CCS Combo plug. Last year, EVgo and Electrify America announced that they would allow customers mutual access to their respective networks.
EVgo says it will continue to install new charging stations outside of the collaboration and currently says they have more than 800 fast-charging locations in 34 states in the US. The collaboration between EVgo and GM illustrates GM’s broader strategy of offering local fast-charging facilities.
Mary Barra, GM Chairman and CEO said: “Our relationship with EVgo will bolster the public fast-charging network available to EV customers ahead of increased market demand and reinforce our commitment to an all-electric, zero-emissions future.”
The installation of the charging stations should be completed by 2025. General Motors said in their press release that “The heart of GM’s strategy is a modular propulsion system and a highly flexible global EV platform powered by proprietary Ultium batteries, allowing the company to compete for nearly every customer in the market today, whether they are looking for affordable transportation, a luxury experience, work trucks or a high-performance machine.”
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