Infrastructure is still a challenge with electric cars: despite a steady increase in charging stations, they are still vastly outnumbered by gas stations. General Motors is hoping to change that with a new initiative.
GM has officially kicked off the “Dealer Community Charging Program” that it announced last year, which involves coordinating with GM dealerships to set up charging stations in busy areas across North America. The first stations have been installed “at several locations in Marshfield, Wisconsin, including two parks, a library and a sports complex,” in partnership with Wheelers Chevrolet GMC. More stations were set up at Memorial Healthcare Wellness Center in Owosso, Michigan, near Young Chevrolet Cadillac, and GM expects more will go online in the “weeks and months ahead.”
GM hopes to install up to 40,000 Level 2 charging stations across the United States and Canada, which would double the number of public Level 2 stations. They aren’t limited to just GM cars, either — anyone can use them. The stations are maintained by the Quebec-based FLO, and a mobile app is required for payment, much like ChargePoint and most other providers.
FLO says its charging network is integrated with BC Hydro, ChargePoint, and other systems, so hopefully anyone using the stations won’t have to sign up for yet another account and download more apps.
It’s great to see more chargers being set up at common public areas, but overnight home charging — arguably the best selling point for an electric car — remains a luxury. Installing a Level 2 charger in a house can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on how much electrical work is required, and most apartment complexes and other shared living facilities don’t have chargers.