Electric vehicles have moved beyond the ‘early adopter’ stage, and well past the point where general consumers are considering buying an EV as their next vehicle; you may even be thinking of one yourself. But naturally, you may have some questions; after all, they’re not exactly like regular gas-powered vehicles. Where do you find the answers?
Well, you’ve made a good choice by visiting The Charge; EVs are what we’re all about, after all. But General Motors also recognizes the importance of education when it comes to EVs, especially considering the automaker has the GMC Hummer, Chevrolet Bolt, Cadillac Lyriq and Celestiq and BrightDrop commercial electric vans available now, with more EVs coming later this year and next. So it’s decided to make an online forum where people can ask the questions they need answered, calling it EV Live.
Here’s how it works: you visit the EV Live website and either log on to a live chat, or schedule one for later at your convenience. You will be connected to an EV expert in a studio, where they will feature various GM vehicles and charging infrastructure. You’ll see the expert, but they can’t see you, so don’t worry about the pyjamas as you lounge on the couch.
You can either talk with the microphone or type out your questions, and the expert will try to answer anything you might have. And you also don’t need to be buying a GM vehicle, either, this is open to anyone.
The site has been live since January, and Omira Janmohamed, GM’s manager of EV Readiness, says not only is this site aimed at consumers, but it also helps inform the company’s own dealers, who need to be as educated as possible on EVs. “I’m so thrilled to say our dealer body is really engaged here in Canada,” she says. “Over 50 per cent of our dealers have logged into EV Live. So a majority at the beginning were dealers and, now that we’re a few months in, the majority of the callers have transitioned to customers.”
So far, the site – available in either English or French – has had almost 60,000 visitors getting their EV answers, and 22 per cent of the calls on the North American network have been from Canada. And considering a recent KPMG study that found that a third of respondents were reluctant to purchase an EV based on a variety of factors, including charging and cost, there’s a lot of educating that has to be done if we want to move to a zero-emission future.
General Motors sees this, too. Obviously, they want to sell cars, but moving to that electric future isn’t just about building them. The company is also investing US$750 million into its Ultium Charge 360 charging ecosystem, with plans to have 3,250 fast chargers in the US and 40,000 Level 2 chargers across the US and Canada. And the more consumers know about EVs, the better it is for everyone.
“This is one part of our EV ecosystem, right,” says Janmohamed. “Education is a critical piece, and then we’re launching nine new EVs this year, also our dealer community charging program where we’re building up infrastructure levels, as well.
“So it’s a whole ecosystem where General Motors is not only leading our transition, but are trying to lead and bring everyone along.”