While many companies and even countries have committed to going full-zero-emissions by a certain date, GM and Shell are going a step or two beyond that, offering to pay for the electricity to charge your electric car.
“Coming this summer, owners of electric vehicles from GM brands will have the opportunity to select home energy plans that include the option for free overnight hours of EV charging1,” GM said in a release.
Now, you see that footnote on that quote, that little number 1 there, and you think, “Ah, there’s a catch!” But it’s not too big a catch. You just have to own a GM EV, in Texas, and charge overnight. You can easily program your car to start and stop charging at certain times of the day or night, so it won’t be that hard.
“Owners of eligible Chevrolet electric vehicles (EV) will have the opportunity to schedule their EV to charge during the free overnight hours, from midnight to 5 a.m.”
GM has said it plans to be carbon neutral by 2040, and Shell has said it wants to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050. Both companies cite the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Some features of the program are available this month to GM suppliers, including “a suite of renewable energy products to assist in setting and achieving their individual emissions-reduction goals.” Employees of GM suppliers will also be eligible for the free charging. But again, only those in Texas.
Will this program go nationwide? Eventually.
“For now the program is only for customers in Texas,” said a spokesperson. “We do intend to expand the program in the future, but I don’t have timing to share at this time.”
Will that actually happen? Will GM be buying me kilowatt hours in California?
“If you look at the big picture here, what you see is two companies which both have very ambitious targets to meet,” said Ioannis Bellos, Associate Professor at George Mason University’s School of Business with expertise in sustainable operations and research focused on EV adoption. “One (company) has pledged to go carbon neutral by 2040 and the other one by 2050. Plus, GM is known for pushing the envelope. They are already at the forefront of electrification. And even before electrification was hot and trending, GM was among the handful of manufacturers that were experimenting with new mobility ventures. So given this background, I wouldn’t be surprised if, based on early feedback, they decided to push for a national one.”
Bellos believes the free electricity is a way to get late adopters to adopt to EVs.
“It’s not about economics, per se, at this point. It’s about figuring out ways to break old habits, to remove anxieties and fears from customers.”
Tesla also offered free charging to its earliest customers, if you’ll recall, and that may have helped push some buyers over to EVs. The same strategy could certainly work for GM. The hard part might be getting the people of Texas, a state known for big pickup trucks and big oil, to make the switch to EVs.
Would getting an offer of free charging help get you to make the switch to EVs? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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