General Motors announced a “coast-to-coast” network of fast electric vehicle chargers installed at Pilot and Flying J truck stops and managed by EV charging company EVgo. The announcement is the latest sign that legacy automakers will need to spend their own money to shore up the US’ fractured EV charging infrastructure in order to build customer demand for new plug-in vehicles.
GM and Pilot Company say the new network will include 2,000 DC fast chargers installed at up to 500 truck stops and travel centers, capable of offering speeds of up to 350kW. The charging stalls will be built along US highways with the expressed purpose of meeting the needs of long-haul trucking and road-trippers.
The chargers will be in addition to the 3,250 chargers that GM is currently installing with EVgo, which the automaker has said will be completed by the end of 2025. The automaker has said it would spend $750 million in total on EV charging infrastructure.
Many of the charging stations will include canopies to help protect EV owners from the elements, GM said. The stations will also include pull-through capabilities for electric truck and SUV owners that are pulling trailers.
The chargers will be co-branded “Pilot Flying J” and “Ultium Charge 360,” reflecting the two companies that will be funding the project. That also means that the new stations will be some of the few in the US to feature an automaker’s logo aside from Tesla’s Supercharger network. GM wouldn’t comment on its invest in the new charging network.
(Ultium is the name of GM’s electric vehicle battery and powertrain technology. Last year, the company said the Ultium Charge 360 network would be the name given to GM’s own vehicle apps and software with a variety of third-party charging services, such as Blink, ChargePoint, EVgo, Flo, Greenlots, and SemaConnect.)
Unlike Tesla or Volkswagen, GM does not own its own EV charging network. Owners of GM’s electric vehicles must instead rely on a patchwork of third-party chargers, each with their own software and membership requirements.
The news comes amid a spike in EV sales in the US — although they still only represent a fraction of overall car sales. It also comes as the Biden administration, fueled with $5 billion in funding as part of the president’s infrastructure plan, embarks on a plan to build 500,000 EV chargers by 2030.
EV charging in the US is difficult and intensely fragmented, especially for people who don’t own a Tesla. There are approximately 41,000 public charging stations in the United States, with more than 100,000 outlets. But finding one that actually works or isn’t locked inside a gated parking garage, for example, can be a challenge.