Thinking about this further, GM or other legacy automakers might just purchase a Plugshare or ChargeHub to build out their platform. How many times have an Apple or Facebook purchased a startup to make their product more attractive and marketable? As GM and other auto companies transition to EVs over the next few years and develop their marketing strategy, this might start happening more often. It will be interesting to watch as it develops.
I doubt any of the manufactures would buy a charging network, but they sure could create a partnership and use it for marketing.
This article from January 2019 issue of SAE Automotive Engineering by Sam Abuelsamid, Senior Analyst Navigant Research, about the Tesla model of "free" charging.
The not-so-hidden cost of “free”
There is no such thing as a free lunch, as
the old truism goes. For more than a
century, the auto industry business model
has been to sell it and forget it. Once
you drove off the lot in that shiny new machine,
you were on your own, aside from warranty repairs
for defects or compliance recalls.
If you wanted to upgrade the functionality of
your vehicle or even put fuel in to operate it, you
paid out of pocket. Then Tesla seemed to turn
that model on its head with free battery charging
via its Supercharger network, and over-theair
(OTA) software updates.
But there was a problem with this new approach.
Tesla has been notoriously bad at operating
profitably and “free” energy and functional
updates cost money. When you are trying to
grow a self-sustaining business, giving stuff
away on cars at lower price points quickly becomes
incompatible. Thus, free electrons and
connections are going away at Tesla.
The company is shifting away from some of
the costly offerings that were more easily absorbed
in higher-priced cars and a smaller fleet.
Prior to the Model 3 launch, Tesla offered all customers
free access to its high-speed
Supercharger network for the life of the vehicle.
As the number of drivers wanting access to
Superchargers has swelled, the company has
adopted a pay model for charging, similar to the
more limited plans offered by Nissan and Audi.
OTA updates have seemed like a great way
to save money by avoiding costly dealer visits
for non-hardware fixes. But they too have
costs. Tesla formerly pushed new software to
all vehicles by whatever connectivity was available,
either cellular or WiFi. Every Tesla built
since the Model S launched has had a built-in
For six years, Tesla didn’t charge for this connectivity.
And the company still provides basic
low-bandwidth connectivity for functions such
as battery management as part of the purchase
price, as most automakers do. However, dataintensive
functions like downloading firmware or
map updates now require $100 per year premium
connectivity or else either a WiFi connection
or service visit.
As a result, some customers have been finding
they haven’t received the latest AutoPilot enhancements
because they may not have access
to a good wireless connection if they park on
the street or in an apartment garage.
This doesn’t even factor in the cost of the
ongoing development of the software, maps
and even hardware upgrades that Tesla has
promised its customers. Those customers will
increasingly find themselves having to pay out
of pocket to maintain or improve functionality
in their vehicles.
This is a sign of things to come, as the industry
moves toward greater reliance on connectivity
and automation. Automated driving will
require fresh high-definition maps on an ongoing
basis in order to function properly. As the
technology matures, the overall system will
need functional updates as well as fixes for security
vulnerabilities that may put these vehicles
Ongoing development of vehicles that are
already in service will no longer be a nice-tohave
option. This will be a mandatory process
that has significant costs associated with it and
customers will have to pay. Affordability of new
vehicles is increasingly a thorny problem. It will
only get worse if automakers try to bundle in
the cost of updates upfront. Customers also
won’t be happy if they incur a mandatory subscription
fee when they buy a car.
The other option is to not sell these vehicles
at all, but only make them available through mobility
services where the support costs can be
hidden in the fare charged for those services.
This, perhaps more than anything else including
liability concerns, is why only very expensive
premium vehicles are likely to be sold with fully
automated driving capability.
The rest of us will be using automated vehicles
owned and operated by a fleet somewhere
Edit - adding image of original article...