Mercedes-Benz announces proprietary EV charging network
Image credit: Mercedes Benz
Mercedes-Benz has announced its plans to build its own worldwide electric vehicle charging network, starting in North America.
Announced at CES 2023, in Las Vegas, the German luxury automaker revealed it will start building its own electric vehicle charging network this year.
The project will allow Mercedes to compete with Tesla, at an initial projected cost of around $1.05bn (£880bn).
Mercedes said it expects to have a network with 400 charging stations and more than 2,500 high-power plugs across the US and Canada completed within six or seven years.
Eventually, the full network is expected to consist of 10,000 chargers and will be available to EV owners in North America, Europe and China, the world’s three largest markets for battery-electric vehicles.
“To accelerate the electric transformation, we need to ensure that the charging experience keeps pace as well,” said Mercedes chairman Ola Källenius. “We won’t take a wait-and-see approach for [a public network] to be built. That’s why we are launching a global high-end charging network.”
Currently, around 80 per cent of EV charging is done at home or office, the company said, but a clear need is recognised for a public charging system to serve as an alternative to today’s vast gasoline service station network.
Tesla was the first to identify this need, leading to the launch of its Supercharger network in 2012. Now, Mercedes wants to join this market.
In contrast to Elon Musk's Tesla, Mercedes said its network will be open to owners of all types of electric vehicles. However, Mercedes owners will be able to reserve charging ports and be given preference over other car marques.
In a statement, the firm said its “charging hubs will be located in key cities and urban population centres, close to major arteries, convenient retail and service destinations, including participating Mercedes-Benz dealership sites.”
Each Mercedes station will have four to 12 ports with up to 350 kilowatts of charging power. Mercedes will share the cost of the North American network equally with MN8 Energy and ChargePoint.
The automaker also said it will continue to support other networks, including Europe-based Ionity.
In the UK, the government announced last year that it would bring forward a ban on the sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in the country to 2030, although the restriction will not affect hybrid vehicles.
However, a recent analysis from E&T has revealed a potentially huge investment gap that threatens the UK’s net-zero ambitions and the plans for a widespread uptake of EVs, with electricity demand set to increase by more than 70 per cent by 2050.
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