DETROIT—General Motors plans to install 2,700 new electric-vehicle chargers in the U.S. in order to boost demand for battery-powered cars and compete with Tesla in the EV auto market, reports the Wall Street Journal.
According to GM, the stations will be able to replenish about 60 miles of driving range in 20 minutes, which is like some of the stations in Tesla’s network of more than 17,000 North American chargers. GM will invest an undisclosed amount and help charging operator EVgo, which owns and operates 1,000 fast-charging locations in 34 states, to leverage public funding in U.S. metro areas, the companies said.
During the past five years, auto makers have gradually improved the range electric vehicles can travel on a single charge. In fact, some can travel more than 300 miles. But the nation’s shortage of charging stations remains an obstacle for widespread EV adoption. Outside of Tesla’s supercharger network, the nation’s charging infrastructure is largely a patchwork of systems installed by small companies and startups. Pricing is inconsistent and the upkeep spotty. Drivers at times encounter outdated machines that provide only a few miles of range for an hour-long charge.
As of May 2019, there were about 69,000 publicly available fast chargers in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Of those, only about 11,000 were so-called DC, or direct current, units, which are the fastest, capable of adding up to 80 miles of range in about 20 minutes. GM said the 2,700 chargers it will install with EVgo will be direct current. The chargers will be placed at grocery stores and other high-traffic sites, GM said.
Ford recently announced it is working to give customers access to 12,000 charging stations in the U.S., and Volkswagen is investing about $2 billion into the U.S. charging infrastructure as part of its settlement with U.S. regulators over its diesel-emissions cheating scandal.
NACS believes private-sector investment by businesses currently serving the motoring public is the best way to increase EV charging stations throughout the United States.