August 3, 2020
General Motors is partnering with electric vehicle charging network EVgo to build 2,700 new fast-charging stations across the U.S. over the next five years.
This would triple EVgo's current footprint of 800 stations across 34 states and provide the needed infrastructure for the electric vehicle boom.
"This is a fantastic boost for the business," Cathy Zoi, CEO of EVgo, told Cheddar. "We're seeing the United States ramping up right now on electric vehicles. The sales are increasing, and importantly the number of models is increasing."
GM alone is set to produce 23 new models by 2023, which means more electric cars on the streets. At the moment, however, most owners rely entirely on their home hook-ups to charge.
"The key to this is around leaning in and making sure we're ahead of the market," said Alex Keros, lead architect of EV infrastructure for GM. "It's really around building a full ecosystem, whether you're charging at home, whether you're at work, whether you're on the road for a longer trip."
How the EV industry thinks about the role of charging stations in growing the market for electric vehicles is often a "chicken or an egg conversation," he added. Do more people need to buy EVs before the infrastructure can grow? Or does the infrastructure already need to be there for widespread adoption to take place?
Ultimately GM settled on the idea that the "infrastructure needs to be there," he said.
In California, where EV ownership is the highest in the country, charging infrastructure has sprouted up all over the state. This initiative aims to broaden the footprint nationally, in anticipation of greater EV adoption, by providing highly-visible charging locations in about 40 metropolitan areas.
"Think of Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Orlando, all kinds of places," Zoi said.
Many of these stations, she added, will be at locations where vehicles can charge while you're doing something else.
"Our favorite place to site our charger is at a grocery store parking lot," Zoi said. "So it takes you 60 seconds or less to plug in, and then you go in to do your shopping."