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GM Launches its Dealer Community Charging Program, Aims to Install 40,000 EV Chargers in Rural Areas and Small Towns Across the U.S.

GM Launches its Dealer Community Charging Program, Aims to Install 40,000 EV Chargers in Rural Areas and Small Towns Across the U.S.

Author: Eric Walz   

General Motors has officially launched its new Dealer Community Charging Program with the first public charging station going online in Michigan and Wisconsin. The program in partnership with its dealership network aims to double the number of Level-2 EV charging locations in North America.

GM is working directly with its vast network of dealers as part of its Dealer Community Charging Program as it prepares to launch new battery-powered models, such as the Chevy Eqinox EV. The chargers will be located in underserved rural and urban areas where there are currently not enough chargers, or towns where chargers are non-existent.

To date, roughly 1,000 GM dealers representing nearly 25% of all dealers in North America have signed up for the program since it was announced in December of last year. It initially opened to Chevrolet dealers this year, but will expand to Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealers in January 2023 as the automaker prepare to launch new mass-market EVs.

GM aims to install up to 40,000 Level 2 charging stations in small towns and rural areas across the U.S. and Canada, which will nearly double the number of public Level 2 charging stations currently available. 

The dealers will help ensure that the EV chargers are installed in places that can best serve their local communities.

Tapping into the automaker's dealership network makes sense, since GM's dealers are typically more familiar with their communities and customer base and have more knowledge of where the chargers should be located to best serve their customers. In addition, many people already live close to a GM dealership, so the public chargers will be more accessible.

"Nearly 90% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a GM dealership. Our dealers are deeply involved and trusted in their communities and are well positioned to determine locations that expand access to EV charging, including at smallbusinesses, entertainment venues, schools and other popular destinations," said Hoss Hassani, vice president of GM EV Ecosystem. "Our dealers are an important enabler of our all-electric future and in many cases will be the catalyst for EV adoption in communitie that would otherwise have limited EV infrastructure." 

Through the Dealer Community Charging Program, participating GM dealers are eligible to receive up to ten 19.2-kilowatt Level 2 charging stations. These 19.2 kW chargers are nearly three times more powerful than the typical 7 kW public chargers, allowing drivers of EVs to charge their vehicles much quicker.

The Dealer Community Charging Program is part of GM's nearly $750 million investment to expand charging infrastructure in North America as part of its Ultium Charge 360 ecosystem. GM did not disclose the cost of installing each charger. During a media briefing, Hassani said the costs are bundled into GM's investment.

GM is assisting its dealers in applying for local incentives and with other funding to help offset the cost of installing the EV chargers. The automake will connect its dealers with installation providers to place the charging stations locations that will best benefit their communities, such as supermarkets or public parks.

The chargers will be provided by Canadian EV charger manufacturer FLO. The company was founded in Quebec in 2009 as AddÉnergie and has become one of the leading providers of chargers for EVs in Canada. FLO's first U.S. manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan, will be the primary production location for the GM chargers, which will be branded as Ultium.

"We are proud to support this extraordinary effort to grow access to public EV charging in thousands of local communities across North America," said Louis Tremblay, FLO president and CEO. "Together, FLO, GM and GM dealerships will bring reliable charging to drivers from ‘curbside to countryside.'"

The current lack of EV charging is one the barriers to widespread EV adoption in the U.S. But as GM prepares for its electric future, its dealer network will help ensure that chargers are installed in places where GM's future EV customers need them the most. However, all of the Ultium-branded chargers will be available to drivers of other brands of EVs.

Marshfield, Wisconsin dealer Wheelers Chevrolet GMC was the first to participate in the Dealer Community Charging Program and recently installed its first EV charging stations. The chargers were installed at two parks, a library and a sports complex.

"We're excited to be the first dealership in the nation to have these chargers," said Mary Jo WheelerSchueller, owner of Wheelers Chevrolet GMC. "This will help put Marshfield on the map in terms of EV leadership." 

Michigan dealer Young Chevrolet Cadillac installed its first charging stations at Memorial Healthcare Wellness Center in Owosso, Michigan. 

Other GM dealers in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Ohio, Washington state and Delaware  are expected to install their first chargers over the next several months.

GM's $750 million investment in EV charging infrastructure also includes a collaboration with Pilot Company on a fast-charging network at gas stations alongside major U.S. highways, allowing GM's EV customers to travel coast to coast. The chargers will be located at roughly 50-mile intervals. Pilot Company operates more than 800 retail and fueling locations in North America and Canada across 44 states and 6 Canadian provinces. The company's network also features more than 790 restaurants.

GM is also working with charger operator EVgo to install 3,250 fast chargers in U.S. cities by the end of 2025. 

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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