An alliance of seven major automakers that includes GM as well as BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, and Stellantis has shaken hands on building a network of EV fast chargers that will include tens of thousands of individual “high-powered charge points” across North America.
GM and the six other companies will create the network as a joint venture, with the alliance expected to launch formally later this year and the first stations to start operating in summer 2024.
The joint venture – the name of which has not yet been revealed to the public – aims at offering a minimum of 30,000 fast chargers in its completed network. These chargers will offer charging via both Combined Charging System (CCS) and North American Charging Standard (NACS) connections.
This plan echoes Electrify America’s intention to retrofit its stations with NACS connectors as well as building all its future stations with both NACS and CCS. The NACS charging standard was first developed by Tesla, offering more compact and lightweight connectors than CCS, and is currently being further developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) for greater durability and performance. GM EVs will switch to NACS connectors by 2025.
The joint venture will place its fast charging stations on highways and in cities first, especially along busy connecting corridors and on road arteries used by large numbers of vacationers. The stations will use only renewable energy and will exceed U.S. National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program standards.
The stations will be open to all EVs able to use CCS or NACS connections regardless of manufacturer. Additionally, the stations will feature extra conveniences wherever possible, according to statements by GM and others. These will include canopies for weather protection in many locations and restrooms.
The automakers also say they will turn many of the stations into hubs for other forms of convenience and refreshment. Fast food, and various stores will also be located in the same “complex.” Without offering much detail, Mercedes-Benz remarks that some “flagship stations will be equipped with additional amenities, delivering a premier experience designed to showcase the future of charging.”
The network will also be linked to the automakers’ individual apps, providing an electronic connection enabling users to place reservations, plan routes, and otherwise travel more smoothly and efficiently.
All CEOs from the joint venture’s founding partners made statements emphasizing that the goal is to hasten EV adoption by providing a far-flung, highly useful fast charging network for electric vehicle drivers.
GM CEO Mary Barra remarked that The General is committed to “delivering EVs our customers love” along with improving access to fast charging since “the better experience people have, the faster EV adoption will grow.”