General Motors appears to be serious about this electric vehicle thing. On the heels of Wednesday’s teaser about the coming Hummer EV pickup and SUV, and after announcing that its Detroit-Hamtramck plant will build only electric vehicles, and just a week before it is set to unveil the Cadillac LYRIQ crossover EV, the carmaker announced this morning it is partnering with EVgo to carpet the country with 2,700 high-speed Level 3 DC fast chargers over the next five years.
“The two companies will add fast charging stations to cities and suburbs, unlocking new EV customer segments and providing increased charging access to drivers who live in multi-unit homes, rent their homes and can’t install chargers, or might not have access to workplace charging,” GM and EVgo said in a joint statement.
As of March 2020 there were 78,544 electric vehicle chargers in America, with over 10,000 of them high-speed DC fast chargers, according to the Department of Energy. California leads the nation with over 22,000 of those, with Florida second at over 3,000. Heck, even Kansas has 815.
A Level 3 charger like the ones announced can usually refill a car’s near-empty battery to 80 percent in just 30 minutes. That makes long-distance travel via EV more of a viable option. Most electric car owners who have home recharging operate on a Level 2 capacity, which refills their cars at 240 volts of AC power usually overnight, depending on the battery’s state of charge. Level 3 charging means the system uses 480 volts of DC power. DC power can flow into a car’s battery pack at a higher rate than AC power.
“We are moving quickly to bring new EVs to market that customers will love,” said Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO. “We know how important the charging ecosystem is for drivers, one that includes access to convenient and reliable public fast charging. 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.”
Without being specific, the joint release said the fast chargers will be placed outside of “grocery stores, retail outlets, entertainment centers and other high-traffic locations.”
The first of the new chargers will go online in early 2021 and will each be able to accommodate four vehicles simultaneously, with 100- to 350-kilowatt capabilities.
“115 million Americans already live within a 15-minute drive of an EVgo fast charger station,” the statement said. “With EV choices rapidly increasing, building more fast charging station across the U.S. is necessary to extend the power of EVs for more drivers.”
GM and EVgo also claim all the new chargers will be powered by 100-percent renewable energy. Without offering any specifics, the statement said that both companies had made “significant investments and commitments to running on renewable energy.” That follows GM’s earlier commitment to have all its U.S. plants running on renewable energy by 2030, followed by all global plants by 2040.
The initiative will be funded by private investment along with government grant and utility programs.
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