GM, Michigan utilities pledge to install more than 5,300 charging stations

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 14, 2010

As part of an effort to hasten the adoption of plug-in hybrids such as the forthcoming Chevy Volt, General Motors Co. and two Michigan utilities pledged to install over 5,300 charging stations in Michigan.

GM said that it intends to put up nearly 350 charging stations for employees at its Michigan facilities. It will also build charging stations at about 1,500 Chevrolet dealers who will sell or service the Volt.

According to GM Vice Chairman Tom Stephens, 600 dealers in launch states will be given charging stations. About 900 Chevy dealers nationwide will be turned to Volt service centers with charging units. As of Jan 1, there were 3,463 Chevy franchises in the US.

The lack of charging stations for battery-powered and rechargeable vehicles has been considered a major barrier for customers to accept these vehicles. The plug-in Volt will have a limited introduction initially in Michigan, California, Texas, Washington D.C. and New York.

The Volt’s price before federal and state tax incentives are calculated is at $41,000. The Volt will be competing in the market against the Nissan Leaf and Ford Motor Co.'s battery-powered Focus that will be introduced in late 2011.

GM said that the costs for installing 2,500 home charging stations will be covered by utilities DTE Energy and Consumers Energy. The 240-volt home charging station for the Volt has a price tag of $490 while installing it costs $1,475.

Micky Bly, GM's director of hybrid vehicle integration, said that at these 240-v charging stations, batteries can be fully charged in 4 hours and will cost about $1.50 a charge. Bly said that in some states, it might cost lower.

He said that there would be many businesses who will want to offer charging at these stations for free in order to attract more customers. In fact, hotels have already contacted GM to put up the charging stations at their facilities.

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