General Motors’ EV Live Is a One-Stop Shop for EV Education

Michael Bettencourt
March 22, 2024
GM’s online resource for speaking to an actual person about any charging, driving range and other EV questions continues – while former Live forums for Cadillac and other GM brands have been discontinued.
GM's EV Live in an empty, modern, brightly lit showroom

GM Invests in EV Education

General Motors has been in the news lately, as it has missed many of its electric vehicle production and sales goals for the past few years. Supply chain and software issues have beset its Ultium line of batteries, meaning deliveries of vehicles like the Cadillac Lyriq and Chevriolet Blazer EV are not happening at the pace the company has hoped.

Even as GM has been investing heavily in electric vehicles, it has also been putting extensive effort into another widely-recognized aspect of increasing overall EV acceptance and sales: consumer education.

GM’s signature offering in this area is called EV Live, and it essentially uses a studio equipped with various GM EVs, charging stations, different types of connectors and equipment to allow EV specialists – not salespeople – and often owners trained in all aspects EV ownership to answer common and not-so-common questions on anything to do with EVs.

The EV Live site is like having a one-on-one Zoom or Teams meeting with an EV expert. You can see and hear the specialists as they move around the EV Live studio, the vehicle or the charger you’re interested in, though they can only hear you, not see you.

woman at an EV Live studio

See and Hear EV Experts to Guide You Online

The EV-specific site went live in mid-2022, after the “Live” concept was launched in 2019 as a Canadian pilot project for Cadillac with a studio in Toronto. Subsequently, the GM Live project expanded to a larger Detroit-area studio with separate Live spaces for each brand, plus the EV Live area, which includes a commercial area with a BrightDrop work truck, with a specialist on GM’s all-electric work vehicles. There, fleet managers can ask for prices or a tour around the vehicle, as well as different configurations available.

This capability to see and experience each brand and every vehicle General Motors offered became especially timely in the age of dealer shutdowns and vehicle supply shortages of the past four years. Unfortunately, General Motors decided in late 2023 to shut down all the brand-specific Live areas – including the impressive Cadillac Live area, which was designed with special lighting and had a $300,000-plus all-electric Cadillac Celestiq in the studio when we visited the studio in mid-2023.

The only Live studio to continue now – according to reports as well as an EV Live specialist we spoke to earlier this month – is the EV Live site, which touches all of GM’s brands, and will receive some of the EVs from other studios soon.

Given GM’s recent pullback on its EV investments, and the shutdown of the Live studios for its different brands, there’s no guarantee how long this EV Live site will continue, but there are clear benefits to many parties in the EV space.

For consumers, there are many helpful assets available at EV Live, even some that are not EV-specific. The studios have three types of child seats, a dog crate and a wheelchair, to help folks figure out if they will fit – without having to drag the items to a dealer to check the spaciousness of the back seat or cargo areas, or potentially the frunks.

GM also says there’s a dealer-training element to the concept, allowing its technicians and salespeople early access to up-close looks at new vehicles, battery technology, and even EV apps. The goal is to make it easier for both consumers and dealer staff to have the information they need – especially information not included in the usual vehicle specification lists.

EV Live Studio

EV Education With No Sales Pitch

I’ve now had multiple EV Live conversations on various topics, and it’s clear that the service is not just an online lead-generation channel for GM or its dealers. Nobody has ever asked me for my personal information, or gave me a sales pitch on any particular vehicle, even when my questions focused in on one. Some advisors clearly have more knowledge in certain areas, but all were highly versed in electric vehicles and how charging worked in general, and GM’s models (EVs and chargers) in particular.

When I asked whether I’d need two separate EV chargers to charge two EVs at home, the representative wasn’t aware of single units with two cords (which are out there, though rare), but he did note that some EV owners with lower-range PHEVs found charging on regular 110-volt outlets gave them the full charge they wanted overnight. He also clearly explained the differences in the multiple EV chargers offered through GM, such as its PowerUp (up to 48 amps, or 11.5 kW) and PowerUp+ (80 amps or 19.2 kW), and the advantages of hard-wiring the connection, without pushing one or the other.

“Addressing common misconceptions about EVs will accelerate widespread EV adoption,” said Hoss Hassani, GM’s vice president of EV Ecosystem when unveiling EV Live. “We saw a need for accessible, credible and engaging sources of information to empower consumers to adopt EVs and appreciate their many benefits."

GM EV Live: Availability

From a consumer point of view, I was surprised that the service was accessible quite late when I called after 9:00 pm on a Tuesday night. GM recommends setting up an appointment if you’d like a full run-through of a vehicle or have a specific window in mind, but I haven’t waited more than two minutes yet to connect, in three different sessions. GM Live’s hours are 10:00 am to 10:00 pm on Monday to Thursday eastern time, and 9:00 am to 9:00 pm on Fridays.

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