KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A new partnership by Pilot Co. will facilitate the creation of a coast-to-coast electric-vehicle charging network in perhaps one of the most ambitious undertakings by a single retailer.
The Pilot Co. has partnered with automobile manufacturer General Motors and charging network EVgo to build out a network of 350-kilowatt EV chargers at many its travel-center locations across the United States.
Pilot Co. CEO Shameek Konar said the effort will build on the company’s recently announced New Horizons initiative, which will update a majority of the retailer’s more than 670 convenience stores across the United States.
“Our objective is to create a nationwide EV charging network,” Konar said during a virtual press conference Wednesday. “We want to try to solve the problem we all need to work toward solving,” he added, specifically referencing range anxiety often cited by consumers interested in EVs. “This project will help make the more widespread option of EV vehicles a reality, [and it’s] designed to grow with the demand for charging.”
Specifically, Pilot will install 350-kilowatt EV chargers at as many as 500 store locations over the next three years, aiming for no more than 50-mile intervals between charging sites. The first chargers are expected to be available for use in early 2023.
Cathy Zoi, CEO of Los Angeles-based EVgo, said chargers of that size set up the initiative for the expected future growth of EV vehicles on the road.
“It’s true, there is not one EV passenger car that can take a 350-kilowatt charge,” she said. The total charge provided by the units, however, can be adjusted to fit the needs of vehicles with smaller batteries. “But,” she added, “[larger batteries are] coming, and this network sets us up for that future.”
While being funded from a separate budget, the EV initiative will complement Pilot’s $1 billion New Horizons effort, Konar said. Unveiled in March, New Horizons aims to upgrade the customer experience and equip Pilot stores for the future of travel.
Based in Knoxville, Tenn., the Pilot Co.’s Pilot Flying J travel center network includes more than 750 locations in 44 states and six Canadian provinces. The retailer also operates more than 170 locations branded Mr. Fuel, Pride and Stamart travel centers.
EVgo is the nation’s largest public fast-charging network for electric vehicles, according to the company. With more than 850 fast-charging locations, EVgo’s charging network serves more than 60 metropolitan areas across 30 states.
Detroit-based General Motors is a global company focused on advancing an all-electric future that is inclusive and accessible to all. Its subsidiaries and joint ventures sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun and Wuling brands.
Members help make our journalism possible. Become a CSP member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.