General Motors wants to make it easier to charge the raft of new electric vehicles it has coming, and Ultium Charge 360 is the umbrella for a number of initiatives it has planned, including apps and services integrated into a growing charging network, which ought to improve the overall EV ownership experience. GM CEO Mary Barra has said from the outset that a seamless customer experience, as well as eliminating range anxiety, is key to the adoption of electric vehicles.
Ultium Charge 360 aims to improve the at-home and public charging experience, GM’s chief EV officer Travis Hester said. GM is working with third parties to improve its overall charging network, signing agreements with seven major charging providers including Blink Charging, ChargePoint, EV Connect, EVgo, FLO, Greenlots, and SemaConnect for an easy, ideally single click, experience. The automaker will continue to forge agreements with more providers, too.
The first GM and EVgo sites are now live in Washington, California, and Florida, just nine months after a commitment to add more than 2,700 fast chargers by the end of 2025 was first announced. Each site is capable of delivering up to 350 kW and features an average of four chargers per site. GM and EVgo are on track to have approximately 500 fast charging stalls live by the end of 2021.
Apps to Plug and Play
Apps will help drivers find charging stations and simplify payment. Through their GM vehicle’s mobile app, these EV customers will soon be able to easily see real-time information from nearly 60,000 charging plugs throughout the United States and Canada, find stations along a route, and initiate and pay for charging using an app that links accounts, which will allow customers to simply click a button and start charging.
Hester said GM launched a new app two weeks ago. The company upgraded the interface for 1 million customers who should be able to access new features and capabilities. Over the next 18 months, these users will benefit from a software update every four weeks. Plus, another major upgrade coming in September.
There are also charging accessories and installation services. GM covers Level 2 home installation with the purchase of a 2022 Chevrolet Bolt or Bolt EUV. There are also products in the works for the 2022 GMC Hummer EV full-size electric pickup truck coming this fall.
EV Specialists at GM Dealerships
GM will also have trained specialists at a number of its dealerships starting this summer. These individuals will help consumers purchase electric vehicles and understand how to use these battery-powered machines.
“This is the start of something significant,” Hester said
The auto industry as a whole is accelerating the push to electric vehicles. GM specifically is spending $27 billion to launch 30 electric vehicles globally by the end of 2025 and has pulled ahead some of its key launches to help meet that deadline. The automaker would like to stop selling new vehicles with combustion engines by 2025 as it transitions to an all-electric fleet of vehicles.
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