General Motors announced today that it will add 3,500 EV chargers to its facilities in the US and Canada. This represents a tripling of workplace charging at GM plants and offices. Daniel Flores, manager of communications at GM, said, “Charging is free for GM employees and will continue to be free.”
Flores said that are currently 918 charging plugs across North American facilities. Charging is provided at the RenCen, Milford Proving Grounds, and Warren Tech Center in addition to facilities in New York, Texas, Ontario, and other locations.
The company said it will prioritize charging installation sites based on employee needs and will work with charging infrastructure companies to begin installing the charging locations starting in late 2020.
GM said that it will ensure that all employees can conveniently charge their vehicles as the employee EV-owner population grows. The company said the Bolt EV is “popular,” although it did not provide numbers. In the next year, it will add GMC and Cadillac models to its electric offerings, expanding the number of EV-driving employees.
Think of it as a way for General Motors to encourage its employees to drive the EVs made by the company — and in doing so, to become evangelists for its EVs and electric-vehicle technology. GM’s expansion of workplace charging also demonstrates the value of investing in workplace charging to other companies.
According to the US Department of Energy, drivers are six times more likely to drive an EV when charging capabilities are provided at their workplace.
Rick Spina, vice president of EV/AV commercialization and infrastructure, said:
Over 90% of EV owners charge either at home, at work, or a combination of both. We have new EVs from GMC for the 2022 model year and from Cadillac planned for the 2023 model year, and we want to make it as convenient as possible for our employees to enjoy the rewards of EV ownership.
Sure, this is a feel-good press release from GM about adding workplace charging in “late 2020.” So time will tell.
It’s been about seven years since GM made a big push for workplace charging when the company joined 12 other organizations as founding partners of the DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge. The goal was to increase the number of employers with workplace charging tenfold within five years.
The most recent update on the DOE workplace charging program, from 2016, showed that the number of planned and installed charging stations increased by 70% since June 2014. Wood Mackenzie’s research on the North America and Europe workplace EV charging markets forecast 500,000 workplace charger units by 2022, reaching over 1.25 million chargers by 2025.
Unfortunately, when we visited the charging stations in the parking lot of its Detroit-Hamtramck site, we didn’t see a single EV charging. (There was a large gas-powered SUV parking in an EV spot.)
However, GM’s Orion Assembly plant, where the Bolt is produced, and the Warren technical center had more charging action.
Regardless, the times are changing. Soon, the D-Ham plant will be converted to producing only EVs. And the company will have multiple compelling EVs in the form of trucks and SUVs that are popular in the region.
It’s encouraging to know that the company offers charging for free to the people who will be making the next generation of GM electric vehicles.
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