GM partners with Bechtel to build fast-charging stations for EVs across U.S.
America’s largest automaker is joining with its biggest construction company in a new venture to build fast-charging stations for the nation’s growing fleet of electric vehicles. General Motors and Bechtel announced that the two firms will start a new company to build thousands of charging facilities across the fruited plains, just as soon as they can find investors to fund the effort.
“This collaboration and future build-out will help alleviate issues with customers’ range anxiety by leveraging GM and Bechtel’s scale, flexibility and proprietary data to provide chargers in locations convenient to EV customers,” General Motors told Reuters in a statement.
“Charging infrastructure is a significant need and we believe that this market is really going to grow,” said Keith Hennessey, president of Bechtel Enterprises, according to CNN,
GM will provide data collected from its On-Star assistance program on where to best locate the stations, and Bechtel will provide its skills in engineering, permitting, and construction. Bechtel builds nuclear powerplants and other electricity generating facilities as well as high-voltage transmission lines so EV charging stations are well within its technical wheelhouse.
While General Motors and Bechtel are supplying expertise, they are looking for others to supply the funding for the project.
“We think that, with the involvement of two companies like General Motors and Bechtel, that this is going to be attractive to outside investors,” Hennessey said.
Although the business deal has not yet been finalized, a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between GM and Bechtel.
With nearly every global automaker making a push into electrification, it is anticipated that by 2040 half or more of new cars sold will be electrically powered.
General Motors will be rolling out 20 new electric vehicles within the next four years, and a recent survey from the American Automobile Association shows that finding a place to charge them is a major concern of consumers. The new GM/Bechtel charging stations would be open to anyone needing to charge an EV, not just drivers of GM products.
The new charging network would be the fourth affiliated with an automaker, joining Tesla’s supercharger network; Electrify America, a company funded by the Volkswagen Group as part of its settlement for the diesel emissions cheating scandal; and Daimler, which has also made a significant investment in the ChargePoint network.
The U.S. Department of Energy says there are currently more than 24,000 charging stations in the United States, including about 70,000 outlets. Almost two-thirds of the stations are owned by four charging networks: ChargePoint, Tesla, Blink, and SemaCharge.