General Motors, Bechtel Collaborate for EV Charging Stations

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【Summary】America’s largest automaker, GM, is partnering with the country’s largest construction company, Bechtel, to bring thousands of fast-charging stations for electric vehicles across the country.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    May 30, 2019 1:02 PM PT
General Motors, Bechtel Collaborate for EV Charging Stations

Now that electric cars have a usable amount of range, they're real alternatives to gasoline- and diesel-powered cars. If there's one thing that's holding electric cars back from truly going mainstream, it's the number of available chargers. Volkswagen's Electrify America is one of the largest companies with plans to come out with more charging stations in the U.S., but more are needed to make EVs more attractive.

More Chargers Are Coming

America's largest automaker, General Motors, has thrown its hat into the electric charging station ring with a new partnership with Bechtel, the U.S.' largest construction company. The two companies plan to build thousands of fast-charging stations for electric vehicles across the country, claims CNN Business. A new company will be formed that will focus solely on bringing the charging network to light.

For GM, the decision to team with Bechtel is a no-brainer. The American automaker is planning to come out with 20 new EVs by 2023 . One of those vehicles is expected to be an electric pickup truck , as General Motors wants to get in on the truck scene before other rivals, mainly cross-town ones , beat it to the punch. Having attractive electric cars with a good amount of range and features at an affordable price and no place to charge them could dissuade some from making the switch to EVs. So it's a smart decision.

According to the report, GM will bring the data and expertise to find locations where chargers would be placed. Bechtel will bring its engineering, permitting, and building knowledge.

As CNN claims, neither GM nor Bechtel are putting their own money into the new company. Instead, both are looking for outside investors for funds. "Charging infrastructure is a significant need and we believe that this market is really going to grow," said Keith Hennessey, president of Bechtel Enterprises. "We think that, with the involvement of two companies like General Motors and Bechtel, that this is going to be attractive to outside investors."

Where Are The Chargers Going?

Crucially, the chargers that the two companies introduce will not be confined to just highways. That's a distinction that the two companies clearly made. Instead, the fast chargers will be available throughout densely populated cities including apartment buildings and condominiums. At these locations, EV owners can't have their own home chargers, but would still benefit from having access to chargers.

"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," said Mike Ableson, GM's vice president of EV infrastructure and charging. "I believe a lot of those are actually going to be in urban areas."

By using data that GM gathers through its OnStar system, the two companies will be able to pinpoint locations where drivers spend a lot of their time. With the locations mapped out, the two companies will plan on where fast chargers need to be placed. These chargers won't just help GM owners, but anyone behind the wheel of an EV.

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