When it comes to fleet (and consumer) adoption of electric vehicles, range is still an issue — but charging infrastructure is the elephant in the room, particularly for organizations looking to set up home charging for their employees. That’s why General Motors has developed a suite of services around its next-gen Chevrolet Bolt EV and larger Bolt EUV, including a way to charge faster without the need to use or install charging equipment.
First, the charger: A Dual Level Charge Cord comes standard with 2022 Bolt EUV and it’s an option for Bolt EV. The Dual Level Charge Cord allows users to plug into a standard 120v three-prong outlet for Level 1 charging and a 240v outlet for Level 2 charging of up to 7.2 kilowatts.
The 240v outlet — think a kitchen range or clothes dryer plug — will give 25 miles of range for every hour of charging. Plugging into an actual Level 2 home charger will bump that range up to 37 miles an hour, according to Ali Jahed, electric vehicle consultant manager for General Motors Fleet.
“This is a great option for organizations with temporary, contract, or probationary employees that aren’t ready for the expense or permanency of an installed charger, or those in leased or rented complexes,” Jahed said at a recent GM fleet event in Phoenix, Arizona.
Some residences may need to upgrade to a 240-volt circuit and have a new 50-amp panel installed. That’s where GM’s multiple third-party charging solution providers come in: One of those vendors, Qmerit, provides a concierge-type program for home charging.
Bolt customers start the process by answering questions on a website form and then uploading a picture of their panel. With this info, Qmerit would then contact multiple local independent electricians to handle the required installation. GM will subsidize some or all of the cost depending on the complexities of the job, Jahed said.
Fleets are faced with a litany of choices and unknowns when they start the electrification journey. In terms of the process of matching those first EVs to drivers, “Start with the low-hanging fruit — the long-term employees with less turnover — and the hand raisers,” he said. “Ideally, you'd want to charge overnight at the lowest rate with a car that can sit for 12 hours.”
Infrastructure buildout won’t happen overnight, which is why GM instituted services to jumpstart the process. “We’re still in the infancy of all this,” Jahed said. “Look how long it took for gas infrastructure to be built out. When the first Model T was sold, there weren’t a lot of gas stations close by.”
Jahed is seeing movement to address these issues. “There’s a collective push on the part of developers to address these issues,” he said. “Eventually building codes will change.”