Last week, General Motors, the nation's largest automaker, and Bechtel, the nation's largest construction company, announced plans to team up to build thousands of electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging stations around the nation. In doing so, the two companies are creating an independent third company to handle these efforts.
GM plans to introduce 20 new EV models by 2023, and the new charging stations are designed to encourage increased sales of these models to customers who might wonder how easily they will be able to find charging stations in convenient locations. However, the plan will also help all automakers that sell EVs, since the stations will be available to those vehicle owners, too.
In terms of location, while most past priorities focused on EV charging infrastructure and placing stations along the nation's interstates and other highways, the GM-Bechtel initiative is designed to pay more attention to densely populated urban areas, where most vehicles tend to be driven more often, and where apartment and condominium dwellers don't have the opportunity or authority to install their own private EV charging stations.
In fact, GM will provide data on where these chargers should be placed, using information from millions of its vehicles that it receives via its vehicles' OnStar system. This data will provide information on where vehicle owners tend to drive and park most frequently.
"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," said Mike Abelson, GM's vice president of EV infrastructure and charging. "I believe a lot of those are actually going to be in urban areas." He added that, "Our hypothesis around fast charging is that people charge where their cars are already spending time, right?"