Berkshire Hathaway-backed Pilot Company and automaker General Motors are collaborating on a national DC fast charging network that will be installed, operated and maintained by EVgo through their eXtend offering.
The network of 2,000 charging stalls will be co-branded “Pilot Flying J” and “Ultium Charge 360”, and will be powered by EVgo eXtend and open to all EV brands at up to 500 Pilot and Flying J travel centers.
GM customers will receive special benefits like exclusive reservations, discounts on charging, a streamlined charging process through Plug and Charge and integration into GM’s vehicle brand apps providing real-time charger availability and help with route planning.
The Pilot and Flying J travel centers plan to feature numerous fast charging stalls provided by EVgo, including high power fast chargers capable of offering up to 350 kW1. EVgo, which is also working with GM to add more than 3,250 fast chargers in American cities and suburbs by the end of 2025, was chosen as a strategic collaborator due to its expertise in building, operating and maintaining DC fast charging infrastructure. Many of these sites will feature canopies to help protect customers from the elements while charging, as well as pull-through capability allowing convenient charging for electric pickup trucks and SUVs pulling trailers.
“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,” said Mary Barra, GM Chair and Chief Executive Officer. “With travel centers across North America, Pilot Company is an ideal collaborator to reach a broad audience of EV drivers.”
“GM and Pilot Company designed this program to combine private investments alongside intended government grant and utility programs to help reduce range anxiety and significantly close the gap in long-distance EV charger demand,” said Shameek Konar, Pilot Company Chief Executive Officer. “Our travel centers are well-equipped to accommodate EV charging with 24/7 amenities and convenient proximity to major roadways across the country. We look forward to collaborating with GM and the U.S. Department of Transportation to make convenient coast-to-coast EV travel a reality through our national network of travel centers.”
Third-party research shows that widespread access to highway charging, particularly in underserved urban and rural areas, is a significant barrier to mass EV adoption.
“EVgo, GM and Pilot Company share a commitment to building an electric fueling network that increases access and makes the shift to electrification as frictionless as possible for all. We look forward to this collaboration and ensuring the EVgo network provides nationwide coverage, including critical corridors for road trips,” said Cathy Zoi, CEO at EVgo. “Through EVgo eXtend, we are demonstrating yet another innovative pathway to help America electrify — and showcasing why EVgo’s technology and industry leadership make us the partner of choice to site hosts, automakers and drivers alike as we work together to deliver a cleaner future of transportation.”
This collaboration is targeting the installation of charging stalls at 50-mile intervals across the U.S.
For GM, this development is one more step of its nearly $750 million investment in EV charging infrastructure, including:
• Enabling access to more than 100,000 charge points in the U.S. and Canada through its Ultium Charge 360 ecosystem
• Collaborating with EVgo to build out a network of 3,250 charging stalls in major metro areas by 2025
• Installing up to 40,000 chargers in local dealer communities through GM’s Dealer Community Charging Program, focusing on underserved rural and urban areas
This project builds on Pilot Company’s recently announced “New Horizons” initiative to invest $1 billion to fully upgrade its travel centers with more premium amenities and offerings that aren’t typically available at current EV charging locations. Guests will have access to free Wi-Fi at most locations, expanded seating and lounge areas, updated and modernized restrooms, on-site restaurants including Pilot’s signature fresh hot and cold deli, premium coffee, and shopping for travel essentials and souvenirs while their vehicles are charging. Pilot and Flying J travel centers are open 24/7, ensuring that team members are always onsite to provide consistently high service to guests.
Beyond this program, GM and Pilot Company will continue working with key stakeholders to use new and existing public-private programs to accelerate the development of more public EV charging infrastructure.
Berkshire Hathaway and Pilot
In 2017, Berkshire Hathaway made a $2.76 billion investment in Pilot, obtaining an initial 38.6 percent stake in the company, and Berkshire will become the majority owner in 2023.
© 2022 David Mazor
Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.