According to the news report by CNN, General Motors Co., the largest automaker in the US, and Bechtel, America’s biggest construction company, are entering into a partnership to build thousands of EV (electric vehicle) fast-charging stations across the country.
To this end, the two giants will create a new company that will focus on creating these charging stations, and are now looking for investors who will help fund this collaboration.
The two companies stated that the partnership was currently at a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) stage and that the business structure for the new company had not yet been finalized.
By adding more fast-charging stations, the companies are looking at boosting electric vehicle sales. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the AAA (American Automobile Association), one of the biggest issues facing the EV market in the US is that there are not enough places to charge such vehicles.
This network will not only help boost sales of electric cars in the US, but more importantly, it will help GM directly, which is planning to launch 20 new models of electric vehicles by 2023.
These charging stations will not be for the exclusive use of GM manufactured vehicles. All EVs will be able to use these fast-charging stations.
GM stated that it will provide the data as well as the know-how that will be needed to build the stations at locations that will be most easily accessible for EV owners. Bechtel, on the other hand, will provide its expertise in engineering and construction, as well as permitting and licenses for building these stations.
The companies stated that they do not plan on putting their own money into this project. Instead, a separate corporation will be created, and other companies will be invited to invest in this new corporation. At this point, neither GM not Bechtel revealed who the potential investors could be.
Bechtel Enterprises, the project development division of the construction giant, is the unit that will be working with GM on this new venture. The president of the division, Keith Hennessey stated that charging infrastructure was a huge need and that they believed that the market was going to grow exponentially in the near future.
Hennessey added that with the involvement of two of the biggest companies in the US – GM and Bechtel – outside investors would also be attracted to the project. He also said that this was not the first time that his company has used this strategy for a new project; the company had used it before in other industries.
For example, Bechtel had earlier partnered with COP (ConocoPhillips) and created a business that built plants for liquified natural gas in Australia.
Hennessey explained that Bechtel has had a major presence in power generator as well as transmission for years now, and the company has also developed infrastructure related to transportation, airports, railways, highways and so on. He said that the electrification of transportation was basically more like a convergence of the its two core markets.
The companies also stated that these fast-charging stations would not be confined only to major highways in the US. Most of the stations available today are already concentrated in these locations. They said that there would be charging stations in densely populated cities also, where many future EV owners lived in apartments and condominiums that did not have home chargers.
GM’s vice president for EV infrastructure and charging Mike Ableson, they wanted to put charging stations in locations where there would be the greatest adoption of EVs. He said a large part of those were going to be in urban or densely populated areas.