Mercedes-Benz will build a $1 billion fast-charging network for electric vehicles in the United States


Enlarge / Mercedes wants its charging stations to be safe, well-lit and offer a charging experience to match its range of luxury electric vehicles.

Mercedes Benz

On Thursday, Mercedes-Benz announced that it is entering the DC fast-charging arena for electric vehicles. The German automaker is in the midst of an electrification push and plans to be carbon neutral by 2039, and it clearly doesn’t believe the current charging infrastructure is as good as its new electric vehicles, so it’s doing something about the situation. Mercedes plans to deploy more than 10,000 fast chargers around the world, starting in North America.

The new network is separate and independent from Ionity, the European fast charging network operated by Mercedes, BMW, Ford and Volkswagen. Here in the US, Mercedes is working with charging company ChargePoint and MN8 Energy, a solar and battery storage company. Together, they will deploy more than 2,500 DC fast chargers in more than 400 locations across the US by 2027.

“Mercedes-Benz customers deserve a compelling charging experience that makes EV ownership and long-distance travel effortless, and that is why we are launching a high-end global charging network that will deliver a charging experience that matches the exceptional Mercedes driving experience.” said Ola Källenius , Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG. “We are excited to launch here in North America with two strong and experienced partners, ChargePoint and MN8 Energy.”

The chargers have plug-and-charge compatibility and are not limited to Mercedes electric vehicles. Mercedes also says the locations and surroundings are chosen carefully – all too often, rows of DC chargers are found in desolate and secluded corners of mall parking lots, which can make charging at night a stressful experience for some drivers. As such, the OEM plans to build the chargers “with grocery stores and restrooms nearby.” It also says surveillance cameras and other security measures will be in place to create “a safe charging environment”.

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At least four connectors per hub, maybe up to 30

Expect at least four DC chargers at each hub, similar to an Electrify America charging location. However, some hubs will have up to 12 chargers, and up to 30 are planned in some locations. The hubs will use ChargePoint’s modular Express Plus system, which can deliver up to 500kW per charging port, although Mercedes says the chargers will deliver “up to 350kW”. And the load management ensures that when several electric vehicles are being charged at the same time, one charger does not throttle the rest.

“With this partnership, we are expanding our existing relationships with Mercedes-Benz and MN8 to provide drivers with a seamless charging experience and turnkey charging solutions with no upfront costs for site operators,” said Pasquale Romano, CEO of ChargePoint. “We believe that the expansion of charging stations like these will enable the emergence of a new 30-minute retail economy at the intersection of innovation and accessibility, combining charging and commerce, offering drivers a superior experience with fast and easy charging.”

In line with the company’s 2039 sustainability goals, the electricity used will come from green electricity suppliers or have renewable energy certificates. Some hubs use solar energy to power the lights and security cameras.

“MN8 Energy is committed to providing renewable energy and related solutions to enterprise customers like Mercedes-Benz as they journey toward an electrified, decarbonized world,” said Jon Yoder, President and CEO of MN8 Energy. “Supporting the development of this exceptional charging experience helps overcome one of the biggest barriers to EV adoption – range anxiety. As each party can play to its strengths, we are very excited about this collaboration to expand charging access with Mercedes-Benz and ChargePoint.”

None of this will be particularly cheap. In fact, the initiative will cost more than $1.1 billion (€1 billion) over the next six or seven years, with costs split evenly between Mercedes and MN8 Energy. And that’s just the beginning – plans for further deployment of chargers in Europe and China will be announced in the future.

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