GM is close to launching a new wave of electric vehicles, and it’s making sure the charging infrastructure is in place to keep those EVs on the road. The automaker has launched a community charging initiative that will install as many as 40,000 Level 2 charging stations across North America. The program will give dealers up to 10 chargers they can place at “key locations” in their neighborhoods, such as apartments, colleges and businesses. The units won’t be limited to GM EV drivers.
These chargers will also be available to buy directly both through dealerships and online. GM ultimately plans three chargers, including a basic 11.5kW/48-amp model, a “premium” version of that charger (with touchscreen and camera) and a more powerful 19.2kW/80-amp model. The community effort starts in 2022 and is part of a larger $750 million investment through Ultium Charge 360.
Level 2 charging isn’t very fast. This is more like a wall charger you’d buy for your home (where overnight charging is fine) than a speedy option like a Tesla Supercharger or Electrify America’s fast stations. The distribution also isn’t quite as good as it sounds. Dealers may want to install multiple stations in one location to minimize queuing.
This could still be welcome news. Many charging network expansions focus on high-powered chargers intended for long-distance trips. GM’s community program caters more to daily driving, where you might just need top-ups. It could be particularly useful for some apartments, though. Residents in those buildings rarely have options to recharge at home, and this might make EVs practical without foisting expenses on building owners and tenants.
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