GM Begins Supplying Level 2 Chargers for Underserved Communities

Partnering with FLO, the program aims to increase publicly available chargers by 50%.

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  • General Motors is rolling out its Dealer Community Charging Program at Chevrolet dealerships in Wisconsin and Michigan, beginning its journey to 40,000 Level 2 chargers.
  • FLO has been selected as the charger supplier, partnering with GM to house and maintain its Ultium 19.2-kW chargers.
  • With nearly 1000 dealers enrolled, GM says these publicly available stations will soon be found in over 10 states across all regions of the US.

    It's no secret that electric-vehicle charging infrastructure in the United States is lacking in reliability and availability. Early adopters have long said the lackluster charging network is one of the biggest challenges on the road to nationwide electrification. But that rhetoric is beginning to change, as the federal government, state regulators, and manufacturers address the crucial need for an expanded charging network.

    General Motors
    is the most recent manufacturer to jump onto the bandwagon and then deliver, with its Dealer Community Charging Program officially kicking off today. At its core, the program provides GM dealerships across the US and Canada with Level 2 chargers in an effort to expand charging infrastructure to underserved rural and urban communities. These chargers are not just for GM customers but are also available to the general public at regionally specific prices as well. Dealerships that take part in the program are eligible for up to 10 chargers and will receive help installing the chargers as well as applying for regional incentives, with GM saying it will provide up to 40,000 chargers through the duration of this program.

    chevy blazer ev
    Chevrolet's new Blazer is one of its incoming Ultium EV products, with the SS model featuring 557 hp and 648 lb-ft of torque.

    The deliveries have now started, with nearly 1000 GM dealers enrolled. Armed with a number of the FLO-provided 19.1-kWh chargers, Wheelers Chevrolet GMC in Marshfield, Wisconsin, and Young Chevrolet Cadillac in Owosso, Michigan, were the first two dealers to officially install the provided chargers. Notably, the dealerships choose the charger location, meaning a number of the initial chargers ended up in hospital parking lots, near parks, and at a library.

    But how does this work at the dealer level? Once dealerships are enrolled in the program, GM itself is responsible for working with FLO to source and send the chargers out. Additionally, any maintenance issues will be monitored and repaired by FLO, per a statement from FLO President and CEO Louis Tremblay. Hossein Hassani, vice president of Electric Vehicle Ecosystem at GM, declined to provide the exact cost per charger that dealerships are facing. However, he noted local reports out of Wisconsin that Wheelers Chevrolet GMC paid $4400 per charger were incorrect.

    ultium charger in michigan

    The target market of these chargers are not limited to a particular part of the country. Rather, the program is focused on upgrading areas that are lacking chargers to begin with. While more rural dealerships are the first to receive a batch of chargers, Hassani said cities with challenging charging logistics like New York will also receive chargers as a part of this program.

    In explaining why charging infrastructure has been so slow to expand, Hassani and Tremblay emphasized the cost of installation and local permitting processes. Similarly, the two blamed brand-specific chargers like Tesla's model and absent-minded maintenance as major detractors in the move toward accessible charging infrastructure.

    "When you look at charging infrastructure that exists, particularly the Level 2 charging infrastructure that exists, the ownership models are quite varied," Hassani explained. "So when you're looking at a charging station that has a particular brand on it, that brand may or may not be the owner and operator of that charger, right?"

    Both of these programs build on GM's plan to install a coast-to-coast charging network of EVgo 350-kW DC fast chargers across 500 gas stations and truck stops. The EVgo partnership plan includes adding 3250 DC fast chargers across the country by 2025. Additionally, at-home versions of GM's Ultium chargers will soon be available for purchase, indicating the company's dedication to EV infrastructure development. As GM makes significant efforts to improve its standing in the growing electric marketplace, ensuring its customers have reliable access to recharge is a smart bet.

    How is the EV charging infrastructure in your town? Please comment below.

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