General Motors wants to end any Little Red Riding Hood situations for electric vehicle owners, hoping you’ll not have to stray too far from the well-trodden path when taking your EV long-distance.
The automaker announced Thursday that they plan to set up 2,000 coast-to-coast DC charging stalls at 500 centers. Each of these stalls will be stationed at 50-mile intervals across the U.S. focused on major highways.
For this project, GM said they were partnering with Pilot Company, which operates truck stops all across the U.S., and EVgo, a public electric vehicle charging company. The company said their stations will offer “numerous” fast charging EVgo stalls that charge at 350 kW. The companies did not say how much users will pay to charge or give any idea of a timeline.
The charging stations will be located at Pilot stops. The truck stop company said it has 750 Pilot and Flying J centers in 44 states and five Canadian provinces. Travis Hester, the automaker’s head of EV, told reporters in a press call Wednesday that there is a lack of public charging stations along major highway corridors running east-west and north-south.
The automaker cited that rural areas especially lack charging stations. President Joe Biden has called for 500,000 stations across the U.S. by 2030. Since we’re currently sitting at a little over 50,000, the country still has a long way to go before it reaches that goal.
This year, GM announced a $7 billion electric truck and battery investment plan, which includes a planned $2.6 billion on R&D for new batteries. The veteran car manufacturer has made crowing noises about its new focus on electric vehicles, but that grand design has sometimes strayed from the original environmental impetus for these kinds of cars. Just look at their strange Frankenstein monsters like their electric Hummer the company announced back in 2021.
The U.S. is just one of many countries to declare they want cars to be 100% emission-free by 2040, which means an ever-growing need for more batteries. What often goes unsaid in all this hubbub around EVs is just how much resources are needed to bring EV manufacturing up to speed. It remains difficult to both access these materials’ supply chains largely dominated by China.
And of course, mining for these materials also presents an ever-deepening environmental cost. This is especially true for countries in the global south, which are taking the brunt of this global effort for more rare earth materials. It will become an even more dire problem, as Bloomberg recently announced the U.S. has crossed “the tipping point” for mass adoption of EVs.
“We are committed to an all-electric, zero-emissions future, and ensuring that the right charging infrastructure is in place is a key piece of the puzzle,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in the release.
Some recent reports have shown just how hard it is to conduct a long-distance road trip in an EV. Many of these Level 2 public chargers require a near-8-hour wait for a full charge on something like a Kia EV6 that has an estimated 310-mile range. Fast charging stations promise near-full charge in 30 minutes, but their limited availability means taking specific routes and taking long breaks in between jaunts. Still, some drivers have said the public EV infrastructure has improved in recent years.
ChargePoint, which remains the largest EV charging station provider, provides 30,000 charging stations. Tesla, by comparison, only has 6,000 charging ports around the country, though it has many more fast chargers available.
The company also said it wants to work with EVgo to set up a network of 3,250 charging stalls in cities by 2025.