Mercedes-Benz Group is planning to build a global network of high-power charging stations to give its customers and electric vehicle drivers from other brands greater access to charging infrastructure capable of restoring a significant charge to EV batteries in minutes, not hours.
The luxury automaker announced a roadmap for building more than 10,000 fast chargers across North America, Europe, China and other markets by the end of the decade at CES in Las Vegas Jan. 5.
In North America alone, the company said the investment will total just over 1 billion euros (approximately CAD$1.4 billion), spread over the next seven years.
Mercedes-Benz aims to have an all-electric lineup across its key markets by 2030, but to accelerate the transition to EVs, company CEO Ola Källenius said it must ensure the “charging experience keeps pace as well.”
“Our customers deserve a compelling charging experience that makes electric vehicle ownership and long-distance travel effortless,” he said in a release. “We won’t take a wait-and-see approach for this to be built.”
Källenius said the new charging network is designed to become “another differentiator” for Mercedes-Benz customers, as well as a potentially valuable asset for the company.
The luxury brand will begin building stations in Canada and the United States this year, following up with charger installations in other global markets throughout the 2020s.
In North America, Mercedes-Benz has partnered with EV infrastructure company ChargePoint, as well as renewables company MN8 Energy to build out the charging network. The automaker said it will share the more than 1 billion euros in capital investment “roughly 50:50” with the New York-based renewable energy company. ChargePoint is headquartered in California.
Across Canada and the United States, Mercedes-Benz is targeting 400 fast-charging hubs that will include 2,500 individual charge points with up to 350 kW of charging power by 2027. Most stations will be located along major traffic arteries and at retail locations, as well as at Mercedes-Benz dealerships, the company said. It would not disclose what portion of the chargers would be in Canada versus the United States.
Globally, the company is aiming to have more than 10,000 fast chargers up and running by the end the decade.
The automaker said responsibility for the new charging network will fall to its Mercedes-Benz Mobility division, which already oversees several other charging ventures.
Access to the network will be open to all EV drivers, but Mercedes-Benz customers will get preferential treatment. Among other benefits, those in a Mercedes EV will have access to a reservation function, which the company said will mean “no waiting” for its customers.
Renderings of the planned charging hubs show a gas station-like environment, with series of chargers situated under canopies. Mercedes-Benz said most of the stations will have between four and 12 charging ports, with some in high-traffic locations including as many as 30 fast chargers. The company plans to prioritize sites with food outlets and restrooms nearby to give customers the “best possible charging experience.”