GM and partners to build 500 charging stations for electric vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — A major automaker, a large truck stop chain and an electric vehicle charging company are proposing a network that would place charging outlets at 50-mile intervals along America’s highways.

General Motors, Pilot Travel Centers and EVgo said Thursday that they will build 2,000 charging stations at “up to” 500 Pilot Flying J sites across the country.

The companies did not answer questions about the cost or how much each will pay, but a statement says they have government grants and utility programs to help install the network.

Construction will begin this summer with the first chargers up and running sometime in 2023, GM spokesman Philip Lienert said. The network should be finished in a couple of years, he said.

GM said the network would be along highways to allow for interstate travel.

When they’re finished, the chargers will help the Biden administration move toward its goal of 500,000 stations nationwide by 2030, as it tries to get people off gasoline-powered vehicles to fight climate change.

Bipartisan infrastructure legislation passed by Congress ended up providing only half of the $15 billion Biden had envisioned to meet a campaign promise of 500,000 charging stations by 2030.

Still, the $7.5 billion for charging stations has been a catalyst for industry investment, said national climate adviser Gina McCarthy. “It’s exciting to see how leading companies are responding by setting their own ambitious goals and investing in a convenient, reliable and affordable national charging network,” she said.

Biden’s Build Back Better proposal was intended to fill the void, but it is stalled in Congress.

Administration officials now say the infrastructure law will help “pave” the way for up to 500,000 charging points by 2030. That’s different than charging stations, which could have multiple outlets. They say private investment could help fill the gap. There are currently nearly 124,000 public electric vehicle outlets in the US at more than 49,000 stations.

The Transportation Department said $5 billion of the $7.5 billion for electric vehicle chargers will go to states, which can partner with other groups. The remaining $2.5 billion would go to competitive grants for cargo projects. No grants have yet been awarded.

The new charging network is a step toward building a charging network that will make the public more comfortable traveling by electric vehicles, said Stephanie Brinley, principal analyst at S&P Global Mobility.

“The electric vehicle infrastructure needs to be some kind of mix of locations like Pilot,” he said. “It probably needs this level of support from a lot of different voices to make it work.”

Pilot says it has more than 750 locations in 44 US states and five Canadian provinces.

GM has set a goal of manufacturing only electric passenger vehicles by 2035. It has committed to having 30 electric vehicle models on sale worldwide by 2025.

He has promised to spend nearly $750 million on chargers, but did not say how much of that has been spent.

GM owners would get discounts and exclusive cargo reservations on the network, the company said.

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