General Motors is about to undertake what it claims is the largest deployment of Level 2 EV chargers in North America.
The automaker this week announced the official launch of its Dealer Community Charging Program with the installation of the first charging stations in Wisconsin and Michigan. GM aims to install up to 40,000 Level 2 chargers in the U.S. and Canada through the program. Those chargers will be open to all EV drivers, not just owners of GM vehicles.
GM is looking to its dealerships to deploy these chargers. Since the program was announced in October 2021, nearly 1,000 dealerships have enrolled, according to a GM press release. Enrollment opened to Chevrolet dealerships earlier this year, and will expand to Buick, GMC, and Cadillac dealerships in January 2023, GM said.
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“Participating dealers are eligible to receive up to 10 19.2-kw Level 2 charging stations,” the automaker said. “GM then connects dealers with installation providers as needed to place the charging stations at key community locations.”
While dealerships will install these chargers on their properties, GM has emphasized that are for the communities and areas with “high dwell time,” not the dealerships. The goal is to expand charging access in “underserved rural and urban areas where EV charging is often limited or non-existent,” the automaker said.
Unlike some other programs, this won’t help ride-hailing drivers in urban areas, but it might help those who want an EV but don’t live with predictable charging—they share a driveway, for instance, or live with 120-volt charging otherwise.
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This is just one part of GM’s charging plan. On the road-trip side, GM is planning 500 EV fast-charging stations with Pilot to form a coast-to-coast network. GM and another charging provider, EVgo, already announced a partnership to help ease urban charging—in that case, with fast-charging as well.
To guide drivers to these various new charging sites, GM plans to aggregate access to charging on unified brand apps, including its own chargers plus those of other networks.
Other efforts—both private and public—aim to fill in the blank spaces on the EV charging map. The $7.5 billion federal EV charging network will cover a lot of charging deserts, but it’s effectively only a start. Convenience stores have made their own appeal for reaching rural America as well.