General Motors has announced it will move to plug-and-charge technology for its electric cars. As of now, it is available for drivers of the Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq, and Chevy Bolt/EUV (if equipped with the fast charge option) who use EVgo chargers. The service will be expanded to include other charging partners in GM’s Ultium Charge 360 program in coming months.
You can have an electric car that screams to 60 mph in 2 seconds and goes 300 miles between charges, but if, when the time comes to plug it in, you have to spend hours looking for that swipe car EVsRUs sent you in the mail or trying to get a customer service rep online because the charger you want to use doesn’t recognize you, the shine on your electric car dream gets a bit tarnished.
Tesla pioneered plug-and-charge when it rolled out its first Supercharger in 2012. Stop the car, plug in. That’s it. The car and the charger do an electronic handshake and charging begins. Now that free Supercharging is no longer part of the Tesla experience, the cost of each charging session is billed directly to the customer’s credit card on file with the company. Simple, secure, and speedy. It’s the way charging an electric car should be.
“At its core, this latest iteration of the [EVgo] Autocharge technology is a customer convenience feature that can save drivers time by simplifying the fast charging experience while maintaining a high level of security and protection,” says Ivo Steklac, chief technology officer at EVgo. “In collaboration with GM, EVgo continues to implement new technology across multiple hardware and software platforms to enhance the charging experience.”
This innovative technology will initially be available to all GM EVs with DC fast charging capability at EVgo stations. After a one time enrollment, customers will unlock convenient fast charging on the EVgo network with the charger and car communicating to securely match the vehicle to the driver’s EVgo and GM brand app account, the company says.
To enroll, GM customers must register their vehicle in the GM brand app (myChevrolet, myGMC, myCadillac), link their EVgo account and activate Plug and Charge within their GM brand app.
“We want to be the company that makes the EV experience seamless and convenient for everyone,” says Hoss Hassani, GM vice president of EV Ecosystem. “Our collaboration with EVgo on Plug and Charge complements the work already in place with Ultium Charge 360 and is a part of our larger effort this year to expand charging infrastructure, access and education.”
Plug & Charge Coming To Other Networks
The Ultium Charge 360 network offers access to more than 100,000 charging points in the US and Canada. According to Inside EVs, GM added EVGateway, EVPassport, EVCS and NoodoeEV to the network last year. It also includes ChargePoint, Shell Recharge, FLO, Blink, and SemaConnect, which was recently acquired by Blink. Most of them will be included in the Plug and Charge program in coming months.
GM says it will invest $750 million to ensure the Ultium Charge 360 ecosystem “integrates charging networks, GM vehicle mobile apps, and other products and services to simplify the overall charging experience for EV owners, fleets and dealers.”
It is also partnering with EVgo to install more than 3,250 additional fast chargers in the US by 2025 and is working with its dealers to add more than 40,000 Level 2 AC charging points in local communities across the US and Canada.
Two of the biggest frustrations with driving an electric car are chargers that don’t work and needing to carry a pocketful of charging system cards around wherever they go. If GM can help remedy some of those concerns, that will give a big boost to the EV revolution.
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