Pilot and Flying J travel centers will soon host DC fast chargers for electric vehicles in a partnership announced Thursday with General Motors and EVgo.
The interstate mainstay, with towering signs and extensive fuel bays that illuminate night skies like a beacon for wary drivers and truckers, will encourage drivers of electric cars to plug in with up to 350-kw charge rates, and charge themselves up inside with various food options, wi-fi and lounge areas, restrooms and showers, gift shops, and coffee.
It's a welcome alternative for owners of electric cars who often have to plug in to DC fast-charging stations in distant corners of random shopping center parking lots, with no human operators to man them if something goes wrong.
“Our travel centers are well-equipped to accommodate EV charging with 24/7 amenities and convenient proximity to major roadways across the country," Shameek Konar, Pilot Company CEO, said in a joint statement with GM and EVgo.
The collaboration will consist of 2,000 charging stalls at up to 500 Pilot travel centers nationwide, with most of the installations occurring between 2023 and 2025. EVgo, which dubs itself the nation's largest public fast-charging network, will provide and service the charging stations, which charge at such a high rate on the CCS standard that many electric cars will be able to charge from 10 to 80% in less than a half hour.
GM and Pilot coast-to-coast charging fast-charging network
Even though GM is footing some of the bill as part of its $750 million commitment to EV charging infrastructure, the EVgo fast chargers at Pilot and Flying J travel centers will be open to any electric car on the CCS standard. Yet the timing coincides with GM's electric car offensive, with 20 electric vehicles slated to launch by the end of 2023.
In addition to the Chevy Bolt, Bolt EUV, and GMC Hummer EV on sale now, GM has introduced the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV, 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV, the Chevy Equinox EV, Cadillac Celestiq, and has other plans to turn its luxury brand into an all-electric marque. Underpinned by its Ultium battery propulsion system, GM plans to make 1 million EVs in North America annually by 2025, and will convert half of its North American factories to EVs by 2030.
“We are committed to an all-electric, zero-emissions future, and ensuring that the right charging infrastructure is in place is a key piece of the puzzle,” Mary Barra, GM Chair and CEO, said in a statement.
The partnership with Pilot, which is recognized by Forbes as the 7th largest privately held company in the U.S., employing 28,000 people, benefits GM customers with discounted charging, exclusive reservations, and integration into GM's vehicle brand apps.
The partnership underscores GM's growing relationship with EVgo in their pledge to add 3,250 DC fast chargers in American cities and suburbs by the end of 2025. These sites will mimic gas station bays, with canopies to block some weather while charging, and pull-through capability for electric trucks or SUVs pulling trailers.
The collaboration aims to have charging stalls at 50-mile intervals across the U.S., with Pilot providing more access to highway charging in underserved rural areas.
Pricing has not been announced, but DC fast charging on the rival Electrify America network currently costs $.43 per kwh.