GM is launching an online EV service to educate and woo consumers

General Motors launched a program Monday to educate car shoppers on electric vehicles and target first-time buyers, as the automaker searches for ways to catch up to and outpace rival Tesla.

The automaker hopes EV Live, a digital platform that connects shoppers with EV specialists, will speed EV adoption and create a larger market for its new battery-electric models, including the just-launched Chevrolet Blazer SS. Available seven days a week, EV Live provides real-time answers on EV-related questions such as how to use a public charging network or install a home charging station.

Addressing “common misconceptions about EVs will accelerate widespread EV adoption,” said Hoss Hassani, GM vice president of EV Ecosystem.

Users can learn more about EV technology, sustainability and mobile apps through one-on-one live video tours, where the specialist can hear but not see the user. GM said it plans to add group tours and pre-recorded sessions later this year.

U.S. sales of new EVs rose 13% to 196,788 units, between April and June 2022, compared with the first three months of the year, according to Cox Automotive. However, a lack of education around battery-electric cars, trucks and SUVs remains a barrier to adoption, according to a Consumer Reports survey released this month. American drivers surveyed reported confusion over how EVs work, charging their batteries and unlocking tax incentives.

“EV Live lets us meet people where they are and have a real conversation about electrification,” Hassani said. “We’re selling the EV experience rather than specific EVs."

EV Live is among a range of initiatives the automaker announced this summer to supplement its $750 million investment in charging infrastructure. In July, GM said it plans to partner with Pilot Flying J to build out a national DC fast-charging network for EVs.

The automaker said in June it will equip its battery-electric models with “Plug and Charge” capability to help standardize public charging. Charging logistics is the top barrier to purchasing or leasing an EV, with 61% of drivers surveyed reporting concern, according to Consumer Reports.