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GM venture would add EV charging stations nationwide

image credit: Credit: General Motors

U.S. automaker General Motors said it will work with electric vehicle charging station vendor EVgo to deploy more than 2,700 fast chargers over the next five years, a move intended to help accelerate electric vehicle adoption.

The companies said in a statement they will add fast charging stations in both urban and suburban locations, including providing charging access to drivers who live in multi-unit homes, rent their homes and can’t install chargers, or lack access to workplace charging.

Stations will be available starting early in 2021 and are planned to feature charging technology with 100-350-kilowatt capabilities. EVgo currently has around 800 charging stations across the United States.

The companies claim the chargers will be powered entirely by renewable energy. In 2019, EVgo contracted for renewable energy to power its chargers. EVgo is buying a combination of Green-e certified wind and solar energy through its electricity suppliers and REC partners. In California, the company is buying solar RECs and intends to buy bundled renewable energy from its partners that are certified through the California Air Resources Board Renewable Energy Pathways program.

The automaker’s EV strategy is based on a modular propulsion system and EV platform powered by Ultium batteries. The Ultium is being developed along with LG Chem and uses a newly developed chemistry for lithium-ion cells that is intended to reduce battery cost and improve performance. EVs typically use an NMC chemistry that is made up of nickel, manganese and cobalt coatings on the cathodes.

The Ultium cells add aluminum to the chemistry, meaning that the expensive cobalt content can be reduced by around 70%.

GM said its batteries are designed with large-format, pouch-style cells that can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack. It said the configuration will allow engineers to optimize battery energy storage and layout for each vehicle design.

The battery platform is designed to have the capability to charge more than 100 miles of range in 10 minutes.

Most of their electric vehicles will have a standard operating voltage of 400 volts with a charging rate of 200 kW. GM trucks will be able to charge at 800 volts and 350 kW.

In June, Electrify America said it finished a cross-country route that will allow electric vehicle drivers to drive from LA to DC and find a charging station about every 70 miles.

That’s important for EV drivers who suffer from a malady known as “range anxiety.” One roadblock to faster EV adoption is the fear that a car will exhaust its battery far from a charging station. A hike to a filling station for a couple of gallons of gas is not an option for EV owners.

Electrify America’s route follows Interstates 15 and 70. Charging stations along the way provide direct current (DC) chargers with speeds up to 350kW.

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