Mercedes-Benz invests half a billion in fast charging network in the USA

Mercedes-Benz invests half a billion in fast charging network in the USA

Mercedes in Tuscaloosa

The German manufacturer will also build electric cars in Alabama in the future.

(Photo: dpa)

Las Vegas Electric fast charging stations are the car filling stations of the future. Electric pioneer Tesla, for example, has grown into the world’s most successful manufacturer thanks to its supercharger network. Mercedes-Benz now wants to follow suit in this field.

As the German premium manufacturer announced on Thursday at the CES, the leading technology trade fair, the Dax group will invest around 500 million euros in a corresponding joint venture with its partner MN8 Energy by 2030. The operator of solar energy and battery storage in the USA is putting the same amount into the 50:50 joint venture.

A network of more than 400 stations with over 2500 fast charging stations in the USA and Canada is planned. The network is also open to external customers. However, Mercedes drivers should be given preferential treatment, for example by being able to reserve charging stations.

“We want to solve the charging problem,” said CEO Ola Källenius in a press conference. North America is just the beginning. Mercedes is planning similar networks in Europe and the USA in the coming years.

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“One of the driving factors of this initiative is to improve the lives of our customers,” said Mercedes-Benz Chief Technology Officer Markus Schäfer. The new charging stations would carry the Stern brand logo. You are also responsible for choosing your own location.

Fighting “range anxiety”

The charging station operator Chargepoint should help with the construction. The company from California is already working in the background as a provider for the “Mercedes me” charging offer in the USA and is supposed to ensure, among other things, that the columns work as reliably as possible. The loading and payment process must also run smoothly.

In addition to the joint venture with MN8 Energy from New York, further joint ventures are to be established to operate the stations, Schäfer explained. The overarching goal is to speed up the charging process, take away the customers’ fear of range and simplify the sometimes complicated search for stations. The stations should therefore have a charging capacity of up to 350 kilowatts. The stations will initially offer four to twelve charging points each, later up to 30 depending on the region. Electricity will preferably be supplied from renewable energy sources.

>> Read also: Important plants are to produce motors for electric cars from 2024

The climate protection packages passed by US President Joe Biden last year, including the “Inflation Reduction Act”, which provide generous subsidies for electric car buyers, were not decisive for the investment, explained Källenius. But of course you take advantage of funding offers, where provided.

A charging network in which you are involved should be classified as a relevant asset for the group, the Mercedes boss continued. The company already offers access to a million charging points via partners, added Chief Technology Officer Schäfer, including via the Europe-wide fast charging network Ionity. Now go one step further.

Mercedes-Benz is currently gradually expanding its electrical activities in North America. In March, the group inaugurated a new battery factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, at a cost of almost one billion dollars. The Stuttgart-based company also cooperates with its partner Envision AESC in the production of car batteries.

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