As the automotive industry begins to embrace the future of electric vehicles, there is one key area in which most are still far behind Tesla Motors. Technoking Elon and his company have built up a thoroughly capable charging network over the years, which provide customers an experience that no third-party system has yet to be able to match. General Motors has been making waves for their efforts in the electric vehicle space as of late, and has finally announced plans for such a network of their own. Known as Ultium Charge 360, this collaborative effort with seven major partners aims to aid GM customers stay juiced up across the country.
“GM agrees with the customer need for a robust charging experience that makes the transition to an EV seamless and helps drive mass adoption,” said GM’s chief EV officer Travis Hester.. “As we launch 30 EVs globally by the end of 2025, Ultium Charge 360 simplifies and improves the at-home charging experience and the public charging experience – whether it’s community-based or road-trip charging.”
Ultium Charge 360 Charging Network
In order to simplify and expand charging services for GM EV buyers, the automaker has officially teamed up with Blink Charging, ChargePoint, EV Connect, EVgo, FLO, Greenlots and SemaConnect to create the Ultium Charge 360 network. By using General Motors’ mobile app, customers will be able to locate 60,000 charging plugs throughout the U.S. and Canada. The app will allow drivers to mark stations along a given route, as well as initiate and pay for charging from their mobile device. That is not unlike how Tesla Motors’ Supercharger network currently functions. GM and EVgo will also be launching approximately 500 fast chargers across the country by the end of 2021.
Of course public charging networks are only part of the solution. General Motors and Qmerit are also teaming up to cover the installation of Level 2 chargers for customers who purchase or lease a new 2022 Bolt EUV or Bolt EV. No word yet as to whether or not this will extend to other battery-powered GM products.
UAW Angered By GM’s Production Choices
Speaking of other GM EV models, the automaker has found itself in a bit of hot water this week related to the production of these new vehicles. More specifically, the automaker faced backlash from the UAW and local representatives after they announced the Ramos Arizpe facility in Mexico will serve as the brand’s fifth EV production site. This comes as GM and other automakers are seeking subsidies from the federal government in order to make the transition to EVs less painful on their bottom line.
“At a time when General Motors is asking for a significant investment by the U.S. government in subsidizing electric vehicles, this is a slap in the face for not only UAW members and their families but also for U.S. taxpayers and the American workforce,” said Terry Dittes, UAW vice president and director of the General Motors Department.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingel echoed this sentiment from the UAW, stating that “Not one American dollar should support our own jobs being shipped off to Mexico,” according to the Detroit Free Press. President Joe Biden likely feels the same way, considering his American Jobs Plan has provisions in place that aim to bolster electric vehicle production here in the States. Regardless, the Mexican facility will crank out two new electric SUVs starting in 2023, per AutoForecast Solutions.
If EVs are going to take off in the United States, the infrastructure that surrounds them will need to grow. This step by GM is important, especially as they roll out 30 new electric vehicles in the coming years before going “EV-only” in 2035. That said, none of the third-party charging networks are nearly as robust or reliable as Tesla Motors’ Supercharger network. That is something that will need to be addressed if automakers really want to capture the segment back from Elon.