TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- General Motors will need a robust electric vehicle charging infrastructure network to achieve CEO Mary Barra's goal of a future with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.
But GM doesn't want to spend its own money to create it.
"We don't wish to spend our capital to build fast chargers," Mike Ableson, GM's vice president, electric vehicle charging and infrastructure, said Wednesday at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars. "We wish to spend our capital to build more EVs."
To solve that challenge, the largest U.S. automaker is partnering with construction firm Bechtel Corp. to build the network and will seek outside investors to fund the project.
Ableson said working with the large construction firm has illustrated that most large infrastructure projects are funded with outside investment.
The Bechtel tie-up on EV chargers is only in the initial stages, and Ableson did not name any potential investors. But he said the companies are "quite confident we can get interest from outside investors."
A lack of charging stations is one of the biggest inhibitors to owning an EV, along with price and range, Ableson said.
Home and work chargers are most widely used because that's where EVs spend a majority of their time, he said. Public stations are only used by a tiny percentage of Chevrolet Bolt EV owners, but they're still vital to GM and other automakers because they reassure owners that EVs can become primary vehicles and work for long road trips, Ableson said.
To help customers find such stations, a team from GM's technical center in Israel created an "energy assistant" in the myChevrolet app that shows how far their Bolt can take them and where chargers are located within that range.
GM is partnering with four companies to build out that map, which Ableson said accounts for 94 percent of compatible chargers.
"There needs to be thousands and thousands of these across the country," Ableson said. "It gets to be a considerable construction task."