Electric vehicle adoption has reached its tipping point in the US. With more and more EVs appearing on American roadways, automakers and charging networks alike are working to build out increasingly critical power infrastructure to keep those EVs moving. On Thursday, GM announced that it is partnering with Pilot Company and EVGo to construct a coast-to-coast national DC fast charging network.
“The missing piece in the larger picture of public charging is along highway corridors, which connect the east to the west, the north to the south, one metro area to another” Travis Hester, GM’s chief EV officer, said during a press call Wednesday. “They form a vital network, which moves vehicles and people throughout the country. Rural areas can also be especially affected by the lack DC fast charging in those areas.”
The network will offer 2,000 charging stalls at 500 stations located every 50 or so miles along America’s highways,”connecting urban and rural communities, the East and West Coasts and different metropolitan areas,” per a Thursday news release. They’ll be co-branded as “Pilot Flying J” and “Ultium Charge 360” stations, based on Pilots existing Flying J travel centers and governed by EVGo’s eXtend service.
The stations will offer a blistering 350kW maximum charge rate. There aren’t many EVs on the market yet that can use the max wattage but the stations will automatically step down the current to whatever the specific vehicle is designed to handle. These locations will be accessible and adaptable to all EV brands, though GM owners will receive some added perks like exclusive reservations and discounts on charging sessions.
“GM and Pilot Company designed this program to combine private investments alongside intended government grant and utility programs to help reduce range anxiety and significantly close the gap in long-distance EV charger demand,” Shameek Konar, CEO of Pilot Company, said in the release. “Our travel centers are well-equipped to accommodate EV charging with 24/7 amenities and convenient proximity to major roadways across the country.”
This isn’t the first time that GM and EVGo have collaborated. The two worked together last year to put 500 Ultium-compatible fast charging stalls at various EVGo stations and are currently working to install an additional 3,250 fast chargers in cities and suburbs by mid-decade. For its part GM is coordinating with seven separate charging networks — Blink Charging, ChargePoint, EV Connect, EVgo, FLO, Greenlots and SemaConnect — as part of a $750 million investment to expand Ultium Charge 360 access to over 100,000 charge point across North America.
“GM agrees with the customer need for a robust charging experience that makes the transition to an EV seamless and helps drive mass adoption,” Hester said in April. “As we launch 30 EVs globally by the end of 2025, Ultium Charge 360 simplifies and improves the at-home charging experience and the public charging experience – whether it’s community-based or road-trip charging.”
The first stations of the new national network are expected to come online by early 2023. There, travelers will have access to a variety of roadside amenities, from WiFi in the lounge areas to onsite restaurants, fresh deli selections, myriad caffeination methods and even secure shower facilities.