General Motors has announced a national network of quick charging stations for electric vehicles to be installed at Pilot and Flying J truck stops. Managed by EVgo (a subsidiary of the South Korean LS Group), the network may be the final piece of the puzzle for GM to make good on its promise to go all-electric. It’s already spent oodles on development, created partnerships with global battery suppliers, and now has a glut of EVs on the way –a glut of product that GM is hoping will resonate with consumers.
However, the only brand that really gets to brag about EV sales is Tesla and many have rightfully attributed a large portion of the brand’s successes to its formerly proprietary charging network. While the company managed to get a lot right with EVs, as other manufacturers floundered, having the world’s largest (now public in Europe) grouping of 150 kW+ charging points has clearly helped spur Tesla sales as customers felt more confident they could top their vehicle off when venturing far from home. GM has wisely opted to follow suit by having 2,000 individual charging points installed at 500 truck stops across the United States.
The chargers will be co-branded “Pilot Flying J” and “Ultium Charge 360” to make sure all involved parties are properly accredited. Though we don’t know how many people know that Ultium is the name GM chose for its electric vehicle battery and powertrain technologies, possibly warranting the inclusion of the company’s hideous new logo that was introduced in 2021.
Chargers are said to offer fast charging services “up to” 350 kW and are part of a larger strategy that includes EVgo and GM working together to add more than 3,250 fast chargers in American cities and suburbs by the end of 2025. From the sound of things, EVgo will be doing most of the actual work on these stations (construction, maintenance, etc.) while General Motors foots the bill. Designs will be determined by what’s feasible by location, though the automaker said it wants to outfit stations with “canopies to help protect customers from the elements” and “pull-through capability allowing convenient charging for electric pickup trucks and SUVs pulling trailers.”
Considering the only EVs I’ve seen towing something have all been part of tests to see how it impacts range, that latter element may not be all that useful until battery capacities come up. However, nobody should fault GM for looking ahead, especially with this being the summer of the all-electric pickup and the industry promising that electric semis are right around the corner.
“We are committed to an all-electric, zero-emissions future, and ensuring that the right charging infrastructure is in place is a key piece of the puzzle,” said Mary Barra, GM Chair and Chief Executive Officer. “With travel centers across North America, Pilot Company is an ideal collaborator to reach a broad audience of EV drivers.”
Automakers have started to realize that one of the biggest hurdles for growing EV sales has been a lack of access to charging. GM even cited some third-party research claiming that “widespread access to highway charging, particularly in underserved urban and rural areas, is a significant barrier to mass EV adoption.”
So it’s little wonder that the corporation is prepared to shell out nearly $750 million in investments to help the cause. We just hope the power grid is ready.
A map of the truck stop stations can be viewed below. But General Motors is also making moves in Canada and Europe and plans to have up to 40,000 chargers installed at local dealer communities through GM’s Dealer Community Charging Program.