GM, EVgo to install 2,700 electric-vehicle charging stations

Source: By Kalea Hall, Detroit News • Posted: Monday, August 3, 2020

The installation, which will take place in the next five years, will triple the size of EVgo’s charging network with charging stations being added in 40 metropolitan areas to provide charging access to potential electric-vehicle drivers who rent their homes and can’t install chargers, who live in apartments or condos, or who don’t have charging stations at work.

The move shows yet another commitment by GM to make electric vehicles more accessible by removing barriers created by cost and range anxiety. GM and LG Chem are constructing a battery-cell manufacturing site in northeast Ohio to help with the cost and have developed a new battery that will give their vehicles more range.

“It demonstrates our commitment to making sure customers have everything they need to accelerate the adoption of EVs,” GM CEO and Chairman Mary Barra said on a call with media Friday. “We have said that we will partner, invest and look for all opportunities to make sure there’s a robust charging infrastructure. Our partnership that we’re announcing today with EVgo is a proof point that we believe very strongly that they both have to come together because in order to have confidence to have an EV as your only vehicle you have to know there’s robust and fast charging available.”

GM and EVgo didn’t quantify their investment amount to install the chargers.

The chargers will be available to all electric-vehicle users, not just those who drive GM cars.

The new charging stations, added to EVgo’s existing 800 in 34 states, will be installed at the places consumers regularly frequent, including grocery stores, retail outlets and entertainment centers. EVgo and GM have identified 40 metropolitan areas to place the chargers.

There are several criteria used to decide where to place them, EVgo CEO Cathy Zoi said, including places where there’s a shortage of capacity, where EV sales are growing quickly and where it’s believed their sales will start to grow.

“We’re partnering to build over 2,700 new fast chargers across the country, that’s a significant amount of effort and investment and we’re accelerating the time to market again to create the comfort that prospective EV drivers know that they’re going to have charging available where they are,” Zoi said on a call with media Friday.

The chargers will be available starting in early 2021. They will be located in visible areas and most will be able to charge at least four vehicles simultaneously. The cost to charge typically runs $5 to $15, Zoi said.

The Detroit automaker expects to spend $20 billion through 2025 on electric and autonomous vehicle development. Next week it’s unveiling the new Cadillac Lyriq, an electric crossover. In the fall, GM will show off its GMC Hummer EV. GM is pushing to have 20 electric vehicle nameplates on the market globally by 2023. Its Detroit-Hamtramck plant will be the first all-electric assembly plant for GM. It will produce the Hummer EV and Cruise Origin, an autonomous electric shuttle.

The battery-cell manufacturing plant GM is building in Ohio will make battery cells for its new Ultium batteries, which GM claims are unique because the large-format pouch-style cells can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack, allowing designers to optimize battery storage and layout for each vehicle.

GM estimates the Ultium battery could provide a range of up to 400 miles or more on a full charge. In comparison, the 2020 model Bolt hitting dealerships later this year offers a claimed 259 miles of range on a full charge.

In January 2019, GM announced it would collaborate with EVgo, ChargePoint and Greenlots to gain access to their charging networks for GM electric vehicle owners to know where to charge.