General Motors unveils a new community charging program that will provide GM dealers with up to 40,000 Level 2 electric-vehicle chargers to be installed across the U.S. and Canada, including in underserved, rural and urban communities where charger access is limited.
Through the Dealer Community Charging Program, GM will give each of its dealers up to 10 Ultium Level 2 chargers that can be deployed at key locations in the dealer’s respective communities, including workplaces, multi-unit dwellings, sports and entertainment venues and colleges and universities, among others. These charging stations will be available to all EV users, not just those who purchase a GM EV. Nearly 90% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles (16 km) of a GM dealership, the automaker says.
The dealer initiative, which begins in 2022, is part of GM’s recently announced commitment to invest nearly $750 million to expand home, workplace and public charging infrastructure through its Ultium Charge 360 ecosystem.
The offer of Level 2 chargers to dealers is an olive branch of sorts.
Last year, more than 100 Cadillac dealers said they would give up their franchises rather than make the considerable investments necessary to sell battery-electric vehicles. Cadillac has said going forward, every new vehicle launched will be all-electric.
GM spokeswoman Leah Huehne says dealers remain a critical part of the retail and relationship chain with customers. “However, as dealerships transition to an all-EV future, GM believes it is critical that dealers meet the essential requirements, assuring the optimal EV driving and charging experience for our customers,” she says in an email to WardsAuto.
Huehne declines to comment on how many GM dealers overall are balking at a future tilting heavily toward BEVs.
“For dealers who choose not to join us on the EV journey, we have made a genuine effort to offer fair and equitable assistance if they elect to exit the business,” she writes to WardsAuto.
GM also announces that its new line of three Ultium-branded Level 2 smart charging stations will be offered to customers directly through dealerships and online to provide more home or commercial charging options and help make EV charging more widespread. (See GM's planned charging locations, left.)
“These two initiatives are part of our plan to put everyone in an EV, making access to charging even more seamless than before,” GM President Mark Reuss says in a news release. “We want to give customers the right tools and access to charging where and when they need it, while working with our dealer network to accelerate the expansion of accessible charging throughout the U.S. and Canada, including in underserved, rural and urban areas.”
GM’s family of Ultium Chargers will include:
- An 11.5 kW/48-amp smart charger
- An 11.5 kW/48-amp premium smart charger
- A 19.2 kW/80-amp premium smart charger
All three Ultium Chargers have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and can receive over-the-air software updates. The two premium models include a customizable touchscreen and an embedded camera.
GM vehicle brand mobile apps will allow customers to set their charging schedule, view statistics on their charging habits and historical charging sessions, and receive readouts of charger status.
The first Ultium Chargers will ship early next year. Customers will be able to roll the price into their GM Financial lease or financial contracts.
GM’s integration with major EV charging networks allows drivers to find stations along a route and initiate and pay for charging while on the go through GM’s vehicle mobile apps. Customers also can access nearly 85,000 charging spots throughout the U.S. and Canada.