General Motors president Mark Reuss recently outlined three major hurdles that he believes may prevent consumers from buying an electric vehicle: range, cost and charging infrastructure. The industry is currently working on getting battery-powered vehicles cost on par with their internal combustion-engine counterparts and is also developing more efficient and energy dense batteries – but what are brands like GM doing about the lack of charging infrastructure?
Alex Keros, lead architect of EV infrastructure at GM, recently highlighted the ways he and his team plan to tackle the charging grid problem in a recent post published via his LinkedIn page. In the post, Keros says “the heart” of GM’s charging strategy “is ensuring the EV charging experience positively impacts decision making when purchasing an EV,” and explains his team is “doing this by making it easier than ever to charge at any station in any setting by facilitating the build-out of additional infrastructure and executing next-generation vehicle-grid technologies.”
Keros then points out some example of strides the automaker has made in this space, such as displaying nearby available charge points within the myChevrolet app in the Chevrolet Bolt EV. The automaker partnered with Qmerit to connect Bolt EV owners to installers of at-home charging stalls as well, and is also working with Bechtel to help set up more charging stations in the U.S., providing the construction company with data that will help it decide the best places to set up the stations.
GM also plans to partner “with utilities to deploy innovative demand response programs and support thoughtful approach to rate design so our customers have access to the most cost-effective options for charging.” It sounds as though the plan is to inform EV owners of the most cost-effective times to charge their vehicles, whether it be at home or at a public charging stall, and may prove to be crucial to keeping ownership costs of EVs down when more people need to charge up.
GM’s vice president of EV infrastructure, Mike Ableson, previously said that investing in third-party charging companies is “best use of our capital, not to build our own charging networks.” The company seems to have little interest in building its own charging stalls, unlike Tesla with its Supercharger network. Porsche also has its own charging stalls and stations, but unlike the Tesla stalls, they are paid for and installed by Porsche dealerships.
“We are in the thick of putting all of these pieces together right now, and our intent is to leverage additional partners to bring electrification to mainstream customers,” Keros also writes in the post. “It is not lost on our team that there remains lots of work to do, but being a market leader positions us well to build on our initial learning.”