General Motors announced Wednesday that it plans to streamline the charging experience for its owners through a collaboration with seven charging networks that will open up app-based charging at nearly 60,000 charging connectors in the U.S. and Canada.
The new functionality will be enabled by what GM is terming Ultium Charge 360. Described by GM as “a holistic charging approach,” the tech push will bring a coordinated experience allowing access to chargers, home charging, and dynamic route-and-efficiency functionality all under one app.
To do this, GM plans to update its brand apps through a series of updates that will bring this new EV functionality to them by the time each brand launches its first EV—GMC’s Hummer EV later this year, for instance, and early next year for Cadillac’s Lyriq.
2023 Cadillac Lyriq
All GM’s brand apps will get a new look soon, and be completely enabled with this new EV functionality within 18 months. The Ultium-based Chevrolet Silverado EV will be part of this rollout, and GM confirmed that this suite of technologies will also apply to the Bolt EV and EUV.
The automaker does plan to use Plug&Charge on its vehicles eventually, but it won’t be offered at launch for the GMC Hummer EV or Cadillac Lyriq, and the automaker wouldn’t yet commit to a timeline. Plug&Charge allows a vehicle and its account to be identified—and charging to start—by simply plugging the connector into the vehicle.
GM Ultium Charge 360 network
GM has forged partnerships with Blink Charging, ChargePoint, EV Connect, EVgo, FLO, Greenlots, and SemaConnect to allow this functionality, and Alex Keros, GM’s lead architect for EV infrastructure, suggested that other partnerships might follow. Electrify America, for instance, isn’t currently on GM’s list.
The approach closely parallels that used by Ford. Through the FordPass app introduced in 2019, in coordination with charging networks, drivers of the Mustang Mach-E are able to harmonize their route around charging points based on their car’s current state of charge. The Ford app also includes charger occupancy along the route and things like charging status and climate-system preconditioning.
GM chief EV officer Travis Hester said the apps will introduce “one click to activate” features, as well as some new features on charging status and connections, along with future gamification features.
GM and EVgo expand major-metro fast charging
GM also announced on Wednesday that its DC fast-charging buildout with EVgo is moving along at pace, with sites already live in Washington, California, and Florida. It’s on track to deliver about 500 DC fast-chargers by the end of 2021, with connectors offering up to 350 kw charging capacity and up to four chargers per site.
Hester also teased that there are some synergies intended with a new digital retail platform that will be rolling out next year, making it better for consumers to understand vehicles’ functionality when they purchase them.
GM says that it will keep updating the Ultium Charge 360 technology with new features. With the company’s plans to offer up to 450 miles of range on some of its upcoming electric vehicles, it’s functionality that owners are going to depend on.