General Motors has picked Canadian electric vehicle charger maker Flo to supply tens of thousands of charging stations to its network of dealers in Canada and the United States as part of a program to bring public charging points to underserved areas across North America.
Flo said Dec. 7 it would build up to 40,000 EV chargers as the sole charging station supplier for GM’s Dealer Community Charging Program, which it described as the “largest deployment of public Level 2 chargers in North America.”
“For them, it’s not about putting dots on the map as many have done in the last 10 years, but it’s about deploying a reliable network that helps their customers to charge,” Flo CEO Louis Tremblay told Automotive News Canada.
The community charger program was announced last year and is aimed at eliminating charging “deserts” in both rural and urban areas. It is part of GM’s US$750 million commitment to expand public charging infrastructure through its Ultium Charge 360 network.
GM TO ‘SIGNIFICANTLY EXPAND’ INFRASTRUCTURE
“With FLO’s collaboration and the support of our dealer community, we’ll significantly expand reliable and convenient infrastructure across the U.S. and Canada and manifest our all-electric future,” said Hoss Hassani, vice-president of EV Ecosystem at GM, in a release.
The automaker plans to distribute up to 10 charging stations to participating dealers, and work with them to install the chargers at busy local destinations such as workplaces, apartments, event venues and schools. The charging stations installed as part of the program will become part of both the Flo and Ultium Charge 360 networks, and be available to all EV drivers, not just those in a GM vehicle.
GM said nearly 1,000 of its North American dealers have enrolled in the community charging program so far, representing about a quarter of its dealer footprint across Canada and the United States.
While still categorized as Level 2 chargers, the stations Flo will provide GM dealers are faster than the typical Level 2 charge point available today. Tremblay said with 19.2 kW of energy moving through them, compared to the current U.S. average of 6.2 kW, the chargers will power up vehicles “three-times faster.”
Terms of GM’s deal with Flo were not disclosed, and Tremblay would not share the individual cost of the chargers.
ROLLOUT HAS STARTED
Flo plans to manufacture the stations primarily at its new plant in Auburn Hills, Mich. Its two charger assembly plants in Shawinigan, Que. will provide support, the company said.
The build out under the Dealer Community Charging Program has already begun.
Tremblay said Flo deployed a couple hundred chargers this fall, starting with locations in Wisconsin and Michigan. The program is expected to ramp up to hundreds of charger installations per month early next year, and eventually reach thousands per month. Completing the program will take three to four years, he added.
GM said the initial deployments have been at Chevrolet dealers, but Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealers will begin receiving chargers in January.
Along with giving current EV drivers a place to charge, Tremblay said the new public chargers will help put more EVs on the road.
“A charger is not only serving the current EV driver, a charger is making people feel that they can switch from an internal combustion engine to [an] EV.”