EVgo and General Motors announced a new joint development plan today to install an additional 2,700 new fast chargers over the next five years which would nearly triple the size of EVgo’s existing network around the United States.
Most of the new locations will feature at least four chargers capable of at least 100 kW charging rates and will begin appearing as soon as early 2021 at locations near retail shopping and other high-traffic metropolitan areas.
GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra and EVgo CEO Cathy Zoi described the plan at a media briefing earlier today. For General Motors, it is a five-year mission with EVgo to spread fast charging infrastructure — to boldly go where GM has never gone before.
Back in 2016 at the announcement of the Chevrolet Bolt at the CES conference in Las Vegas, the company’s top electrification executive, Pam Fletcher, told reporters “we believe all our customers should benefit from any infrastructure spending”. Translation — GM doesn’t invest in gas stations and won’t invest in electric charging either. That has now changed.
Missing from today’s announcement was any significant expansion of highway charging to further enable long-distance driving. Although other providers have a fast charging site located now and again along remote highways, the primary company filling that role at the moment is Electrify America which is owned by Volkswagen. Its funding comes from “dieselgate” lawsuit settlements. Other companies, like EVgo, are reluctant to place chargers along highways because metropolitan sites get much more use and are better financial investments today.
GM’s financial involvement in the new arrangement was not disclosed and other details of its involvement were also sparse and vague. The company said it was investing some funds in the new project with EVgo and would be involved in helping to determine new charging locations in around 40 unspecified metropolitan markets around the United States. It would also be assisting in government lobbying and in applications for utility and other grant programs.
As with EVgo’s existing charging network, all electricity for the new chargers will come from 100% renewable power.
Today, EVgo has over 800 locations in 34 states often with only one or two chargers capable of close to 50 kW of output. In late 2018 the company opened its first higher-powered charging site in Baker, California along the path between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Since then, it has been installing new sites and upgrading some others with faster charging. Last year, it installed 75 new locations for use by its roughly 200,000 customers. Earlier this year EVgo was acquired by LS Power.
GM is at the beginning of a major rollout of new all-electric vehicles in the coming weeks and months. It will show off the first fully-electric Cadillac, the LYRIQ, on August 6 and the GMC Hummer SUV later this year. A larger variant of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and an update of the existing Bolt are also on the schedule over the next year.
In 2019, GM announced the creation of Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture with LG Chem to mass-produce battery cells in Ohio for future battery-electric vehicles.