2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV at public charging station
General Motors, the nation’s biggest automaker, is teaming up with construction giant Bechtel to build thousands of chargers around the U.S. with the aim of promoting adoption of electric cars.
The companies will form a joint venture to build the chargers in which Bechtel will provide its expertise in construction and permitting and GM will provide data from its cars and drivers about the best sites to install those chargers.
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Executives from the two companies said the chargers won’t just be located along interstates to enable long-distance travel but will be sited in underserved and urban areas. The chargers will comply with SAE and IEEE standards, so will be available for EVs from any automaker to use.
Mike Ableson, GM’s vice president to EV infrastructure and charging, told CNN, “The way we think about it, we want to put chargers where they’re going to have the greatest influence on EV adoption wherever that may be.”
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GM has vast data about where drivers of its Chevrolet Volt and Bolt have charged over the years though the company’s OnStar system, and in the case of the Volt where the cars have run out of battery power.
Urban areas, where lots of residents live in apartments and condominiums, generally have seen fewer electric car sales, because it is more difficult for those drivers to charge up at home and there are fewer public fast chargers.
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GM spokeswoman Megan Soule confirmed the plans to Green Car Reports, but said the company had no more specific announcement about timing, types or number of chargers, or branding “at this early stage.” It’s however looking to team up with an operating network and aiming to create a “a national-scale network with thousands of fast-chargers.”
CEO Mary Barra has announced plans to convert the automaker’s fleet into all electric cars at some undefined future date, and the company plans to release a new electric SUV based on the Chevy Bolt EV the next two years, followed by a new electric-car platform for Cadillac.