Interest and demand for electric vehicles in the US continues to increase — especially with the recent energy crisis that’s turned every trip to the gas station into a painful exercise. But meeting that demand, and supporting the growing network with necessary infrastructure, has proven to be half the battle.
On Thursday, General Motors announced a major new business initiative to help soothe some of the growing pains. It comes hot off the heels of a similarly seismic announcement from Tesla.
US EV sales have increased over 40% every year since 2016, according to McKinsey. But as a strong current of interest jolts through the consciousness of American drivers, two significant logistical problems persist: creating enough batteries to power new vehicles and installing enough charging stations on roadways to make EV transit a feasible option. In fact, nearly half of US consumers say battery or charging issues are their top concern about purchasing an EV, according to McKinsey.
Those concerns may soon be increasingly assuaged. Tesla announced a deal with Panasonic this week to build a battery plant in Kansas and GM revealed its own partnership with highway road stop company Pilot to expand its charging network:
- Panasonic is investing $4 billion into the plant, which will include a research facility and marks the largest economic development project in Kansas history, the state’s governor claimed in a press release The Japanese conglomerate already jointly operates a $5 billion Nevada factory with Tesla and is currently developing a next-generation battery with five-times the storage capacity of current units — set for mass production next year.
- GM and Pilot will add around 2,000 charging stations across 500 Pilot and Flying J locations next year — establishing a network with chargers every 50 miles on US highways. Charging station company EVgo will install and operate the units.
Gaslit: After a sharp, painful rise, gas prices have fallen quite a bit in the past month, from $5.02 per gallon a month ago to $4.61, according to AAA data published Thursday. But that’s still well above the $3.15 average seen in July 2021. Don’t cancel that Tesla order just yet.