GM, Stellantis among 7 automakers building North American EV charging grid

Seven major automakers. including two of Detroit's big three, say they’re joining forces to build a North American electric vehicle charging network that would rival Tesla’s and nearly double the number of fast-charging plugs in the U.S. and Canada.

General Motors, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes and Stellantis said on Wednesday they plan to share a multi billion-dollar investment to build these charging stations with at least 30,000 plugs in urban areas and along freeways by 2030. The move will hopefully speed up the adoption of electric vehicles and set aside fears by drivers that chargers wouldn't be available for long-distance travel.

"This will be applied to all the electric vehicles. I think this is really great actually," said Oakland University's Dr. Xia Wang.

Dr. Wang has researched how to extend the life of EVs in cars to this news will help those early adapters. Right now, however, the number of gas stations still outweighs charging stations.

"You should compare how many charging stations we have with how many gas stations we have. Plus it takes longer to charge an electric vehicle than a gas vehicle," Dr. Wang said.

But these companies aren't just in it to help out drivers, it's about increasing sales – according to WWJ's Jeff Gilbert.

"It’s not even so much something that will help sales it’s something that's important for sales," he said.

It will cost billions to create these high-power charging stations but could help motivate people to buy more electric vehicles.

"This, as you mention, is a big issue people have with electric vehicles. It's like okay, great, I can charge this at home, but why would I go somewhere else? I can tell you, as somebody who test drives a lot of vehicles and has driven a lot of electric vehicles, I’ve had a lot of issues with charging. It’s not easy today," Gilbert said.

Tesla jumped out to an early lead on electric vehicles and other carmakers are trying to catch up. This move, Gilbert says, is a step to get them there

"This gives the weight of 7 car companies to put together something….these are car customers that know their customers and know how they use vehicles. They’re going to put this together in a very logical way," Gilbert said.

We reached out to some of these automakers today but did not receive a comment on the plan. 

The Biden Administration has previously said it wants to have a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers and see EVs make up at least 50% of new car sales by 2030.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.