When it comes to making the switch to an electric vehicle, public recharging can be a hurdle for drivers. General Motors made the hurdle a bit lower this week, announcing a new connected EV charging station program called Ultium Charge 360.
Ultium Charge 360 represents a “holistic charging experience” for GM EV drivers. To make this possible, GM worked with seven charging companies — Blink Charging, ChargePoint, EV Connect, EVgo, FLO, Greenlots and SemaConnect — on agreements to make it easier to find an open public charging station and to pay for a charging session.
The end result sounds impressive. GM said it will give its drivers access to “nearly 60,000 plugs across the U.S. and Canada,” though only 500 will be open by the end of this year. Those first 500 will be from EVgo, and the first sites are already active in Washington, California and Florida.
“GM agrees with the customer need for a robust charging experience that makes the transition to an EV seamless and helps drive mass adoption,” said Travis Hester, GM’s chief EV officer, in a statement. “As we launch 30 EVs globally by the end of 2025, Ultium Charge 360 simplifies and improves the at-home charging experience and the public charging experience — whether it’s community-based or road-trip charging.”
Ultium Charge 360 gets its name from the new electric vehicle platform GM is using on its next-generation EVs, the proprietary Ultium Platform. This is the platform that will be used in the company’s upcoming all-electric models, including the Cadillac Lyriq, the GMC Hummer EVs, the Chevrolet Silverado electric pickup truck and other, unannounced EVs. The platform is good for a range of up to 450 miles on a full charge, GM said.
ChargePoint integrates Android Auto into in-vehicle app
In other charging news, ChargePoint announced Thursday that it would offer up new “essential charging functionality” in compatible electric vehicles through an integration with Android Auto. EV drivers with Android phones (running Android 6.0 or newer) will be able to use ChargePoint’s Android Auto app to see ChargePoint app information on the EV’s built-in display.
Pertinent information includes the ability to find nearby EV charging stations and filter search results by things like charging speed, compatibility with the EV being driven, availability and cost. App users can also see the status of these stations and start a charging session or get a notification if the station is busy once it is again open.
“At ChargePoint, we know that the shift to electric mobility relies on driver experience, and ChargePoint’s Android Auto app is another pivotal step in the evolution already underway, driven by software and increased connectivity,” said Bill Loewenthal, senior vice president of product for ChargePoint, in a statement. “By integrating essential charging data directly into the vehicle’s infotainment system, drivers are even more empowered and informed.”
Toyota: $803 million to be invested in Indiana for ‘electrified’ vehicles
Finally, Toyota is going to build two new SUVs — a Toyota and a Lexus model — at its plant in Indiana. The automaker did not say if these would be pure EVs, plug-in hybrids or hybrids, just that they would be “electrified.” The $803 million investment would also add 1,400 new jobs at the plant. Toyota currently builds the hybrid Sienna minivan, the hybrid Highlander SUV and the Sequoia SUV in Indiana.