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GM plans own large EV charging network in the US, can’t be bothered to invest in it itself

GM confirmed today that it plans to its own large electric car charging network with thousands of fast-charging stations in the US, but the automaker apparently can’t be bothered to invest in it itself.

The American automaker confirmed today that it is teaming up with Bechtel, the largest construction company in the US, “to build thousands of electric vehicle fast-charging stations” across the United States as part of a new charging network.

CNN reports:

“GM will provide the data and expertise needed to place chargers in the locations where they can best be used, the two companies said. Bechtel, meanwhile, will provide its own expertise in engineering, building and permitting for the stations.”

GM wants to use data from its fleet to help find locations for the charging stations.

Mike Ableson, GM’s vice president of EV infrastructure and charging, commented:

“Our hypothesis around fast charging is that people charge where their cars [are] already spending time, right? And, thanks to this anonymized opt-in data, we have a lot of insight into that.”

They plan on deploying stations, which would be open to all electric vehicles, both on highways and within city centers.

Ableson added:

“The way we think about it, we want to put chargers where they’re going to have the greatest influence on EV adoption wherever that may be. I believe a lot of those are actually going to be in urban areas.”

Strangely, neither company plans to invest its own money in the project, and they are instead looking for investors. CNN reports:

“Neither company plans to put money into this project, though. The two companies will create a separate corporation to build the charging network and other companies are being invited to invest in it. Neither GM nor Bechtel would name potential investors while discussions are still ongoing.”

As it appears to rely on other investors, there’s no word on a timeline for the new charging network, but GM aims to release 20 new all-electric vehicles by 2023.

Electrek’s Take

If GM is really convinced that electric vehicles are the future, as they have often been stating over the past few years, why wouldn’t they be willing to invest their own money in the project?

In an all-electric future, charging will be a big and profitable business. If you plan to make that future happen, why wouldn’t you want a piece of that pie?

The way I see it, this is more of a response to Electrify America.

Volkswagen was forced to invest billions in charging infrastructure in the US and while Electrify America technically an independent company with a network opened to all automakers, it’s very much under Volkswagen’s control.

I think GM wants to also have control over some charging infrastructure, but it’s apparently not willing to pay for it.

To this day, it looks like only Tesla was bold enough to invest in its own large scale charging network without relying on outside money.

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