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Seven Questions with GM’s EV Charging and Infrastructure Manager

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Aaron Wolff — EV Charging and Infrastructure Manager — spends his days working with vehicle engineers, developers, marketers and customer-experience experts to ensure they are identifying and alleviating customer concerns about electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

From teaching 8th-grade Algebra to launching a tech company, Wolff’s unique road to GM prepared him to not only understand the EV world, but help explain it. Here’s what he had to say.

Q. How do you address customer concerns about EV battery range and charging times?

A. I like to compare charging an EV to charging a cell phone: I plug my phone in at night before I go to bed, and every day I wake up with a full charge. I never sit around and wait for my cell phone to charge; it happens while I'm sleeping. What could be more convenient? If you plug your EV in when you get home, you wake up every day charged up, so range will never really be an issue for daily driving. When you do need to take a road trip and charge at DC public chargers, with GMC HUMMER EV’s Ultium battery, the Edition 1 Pickup (available Fall 2021) and available EV3X Pickup  (available Fall 2022) can fast charge and get 100 miles in 10 minutes.

And, you never have to go to a gas station. My wife works at a hospital and has shifts that start at 4:30 a.m. She hated those mornings, especially in the winter, when she had to stop at a gas station at 4 a.m. With an EV and home charging, range anxiety shouldn’t be an issue.

Q. How does the myGMC Mobile App improve EV ownership?

A. Energy Assist in the myGMC Mobile App gives you the ability to quickly see your EV’s current state of charge and range, find chargers that are nearby and help you plan a route. Let’s say you want to go for a weekend getaway — put in your destination and Energy Assist will show you exactly which chargers you should stop at and for how long. It looks at weather conditions, traffic and vehicle information (more than 50 different data points) to provide you with the perfect route. You can also start charging sessions at EVgo and ChargePoint stations using the myGMC Mobile App. (Energy Assist and other charging functionalities for the myGMC Mobile App will be available Fall of 2021.)

Q. Approximately how many public chargers can EV owners currently find?

A. Today, EV drivers can find over 80,000 chargers in the U.S. and Canada — that includes over 7,500 DC fast chargers.

Q. How is GM/GMC helping to build the EV charging infrastructure?

A. In 2020, GM announced a collaboration with EVgo to help triple the size of their network and add over 2,700 more fast chargers across the U.S. These chargers will be public and open to EV drivers. We want to expand EV charging infrastructure and make charging as easy as possible for all drivers. We believe that “a rising tide lifts many boats.”

We’re not alone. Charging operators, utilities and governments are all investing in EV infrastructure.

Q. Does a customer need to do anything to prepare for charging an EV at home?

A. In order to charge an EV, you simply need access to a household outlet (120-volt, 3-prong). If you wish to charge at faster speeds, you may consider upgrading to a Level 2 charging station. We recommend using a licensed electrician to install a Level 2 home charging station.

Q. What other EV misconceptions are you working to dispel?

A. “Charging takes so long." Besides the fact that most of your charging will happen while you're sleeping, when you do take the occasional road trip and charge at DC public chargers, your GMC HUMMER EV Edition 1 and available EV3X Pickups will be able to charge up to 100 miles in 10 minutes. After driving hundreds of miles without a break, a few minutes won't feel long at all.

Q. What would you tell customers as they consider an electric future?

A. Go take an EV for a test drive. The nearly instant torque and smooth acceleration will blow you away! 

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