Seven major automakers are coming together to create a joint venture that will build out a large electric vehicle fast-charging network in the North America, in an attempt to make electric vehicles more attractive to consumers. The companies – General Motors, BMW Group, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis – plan to install at least 30,000 chargers in the United States and Canada.
The first of the new charging stations will open next summer, the companies announced, first in the US and, later, in Canada.
“GM’s commitment to an all-electric future is focused not only on delivering EVs our customers love, but investing in charging and working across the industry to make it more accessible,” GM chief executive Mary Barra said in a statement. “The better experience people have, the faster EV adoption will grow.”
In a recent Cox Automotive survey, about a third of people cited a lack of charging as a the top reason they would not buy an electric vehicle, although that percentage has fallen from 40% in 2021. At the same time, the percentage of people considering an EV rose to over 50% from 38% two years ago
The new charging stations will be built around major cities as well as along popular travel routes, the companies said. Each charging station will have multiple high-powered fast chargers of the sort that can fill an EV’s batteries to about 80% in 30 minutes or so. With overhead canopies where possible to block sun and rain, they will also be near restaurants and shops with available restroom facilities, according to the companies. The chargers will rely on renewable energy sources, the companies said.
The chargers will work with each of the automakers’ different phone apps to make finding chargers and starting a charge as easy as possible, the companies said. Vehicles made by other manufacturers, not just these seven, will be able to charge at these stations, as well. The new joint venture will rely on funds from the automakers as well as using grants offered by the federal government to build new EV chargers.
GM and Mercedes have previously announced that they plan to adopt Tesla’s North American Charging Standard while the others have not announced plans to make that switch. So the chargers built by the new company will have both NACS cables and the more widely used CCS, or Combined Charging System, cables the type used by most other electric vehicles. LL: Moved this down.
This new joint venture would, by itself, greatly increase the number of fast chargers currently in the US, according to data from US Department of Energy. There are currently about 35,000 NACS and CCS chargers in the US, but many more will be needed as the number of electric vehicles increases in coming years. This year will be the first that more than 1 million EVs will be sold in the US, said Brian Moody, executive editor at Autotrader. Planned emissions standards announced by the Biden administration last year will essentially require that, by 2030, half of all new vehicles sold in the US will be electric.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, part of the US Department of Energy, estimates that 182,000 fast chargers will be needed by that time.