General Motors' Maven division and charging-infrastructure company EVgo are teaming up to help ride-hailing drivers who use electric cars find a place to charge. EVgo will build a dedicated network of charging stations for drivers renting Chevrolet Bolt EVs under GM's Maven Gig program.
The network will consist of DC fast-charging stations which can restore up to 90 miles of range to a Bolt EV in 30 minutes, according to Chevy. A full charge takes significantly longer because the system slows down after 30 minutes to avoid damaging the battery pack. EVgo said it would build "hundreds" of DC fast-charging stations in cities where Maven operates.
Meanwhile, an existing agreement allows Maven drivers to charge at public EVgo fast-charging stations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, Baltimore, Austin, and Washington, D.C., but a dedicated network will probably be a big plus for Maven Gig drivers, who are driving to earn money and can't afford to waste time competing with other drivers for spots at charging stations.
Launched last year, Maven Gig rents Bolt EVs to drivers working for freelance services like Uber and Lyft. Drivers pay a flat rate that includes insurance and can drive for multiple services simultaneously. This allows drivers to earn money with ride-hailing or delivery services while avoiding wear and tear on their own cars.
In a press release, EVgo noted that electric cars are becoming more popular in ride-hailing fleets because of lower operating costs compared to internal-combustion cars. Electric power also plays an important role in the much-discussed future of autonomous ride-hailing, as Waymo's decision to buy a fleet of Jaguar I-Pace SUVs shows. But all of those electric cars will need places to charge.
The network of public charging stations has grown impressively over the last few years, but it will need to grow even more to support large fleets of electric ride-hailing vehicles. DC fast charging will be crucial, because the less time a car spends charging, the more time it can spend on the road making money for its owner. EVgo and Maven are laying the groundwork for that with their new partnership.