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With the alternative fuel auto market taking a sharp turn into electric vehicles and becoming more practical every year, we’re going to start seeing some large changes. Although the merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Renault fell through, the automotive group Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) still has large plans to produce electric and self-driving vehicles. They’re not the only automaker making large investments in the growing markets either. Automakers Volkswagen and General Motors seek to change the face of America by installing electric vehicle charging stations across the United States.
Volkswagen Electrifies America
Volkswagen AG united with Electrify America and are seeking to expand the U.S. network of electric vehicle charging stations by starting with a well-known supermarket name – Walmart. Whether related to the expansion of the Waymo One self-driving program with Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans chauffeuring consumers to and from Walmart for online grocery pick-up in unclear, but the goal is to install electric vehicle charging stations at Walmart Inc store locations. On Thursday, the two companies said that they will be placing an emphasis on America’s heartland states. These usually refer to the Midwest – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Both companies have already installed more than 120 operational charging stations installed at Walmart stores in 34 U.S. states, but did not disclose the number they plan to build and install. Even so, some sources familiar with Electrify America claim that there will be 180 more charging stations at Walmart locations by the end of 2019. The reason for this upsurge of building and installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations is because of the wide belief that the lack of infrastructure for U.S. drivers to recharge EVs is a major barrier for the mass adoption of EVs by consumers. In an effort to skew this view, not only will VW and Electrify America be installing more EV charging stations across the country, but the chargers will provide fast charging for vehicles, with speeds of up to 20 miles of range per minute of charging. That’s a plus!
General Motors and Bechtel
VW and Electrify America aren’t alone. On Tuesday, General Motors said that it will be partnering up with construction firm Bechtel Corp to build fast-charging stations for electric vehicles across the United States and is currently seeking investors to fund the collaboration. Perhaps the two should contact VW. The automaker has already agreed to spend $800 million in California and a total of $2 billion nationwide on clean car infrastructure as a part of its agreement in addition to the charging stations that will be built and installed in the heartland states. Regardless, all parties involved are working towards alleviating the worry of limited range.
“This collaboration and future build-out will help alleviate issues with customers’ range anxiety by leveraging GM and Bechtel’s scale, flexibility and proprietary data to provide chargers in locations convenient to EV customers,” General Motors told Reuters.
As the auto market changes and the number of alternative fuel vehicles on the street rises, someone has to step in and make them more practical. If it takes a couple of automakers working together to do that, then it’s a step forward. What do you think? Join the discussion on NowCar social media.