Mercedes builds its own charging network for electric cars – economy

Mercedes builds its own charging network for electric cars – economy

The dimensions of the project are enormous, no other car manufacturer is currently daring to make such a large investment in charging infrastructure: Mercedes wants to build 10,000 fast charging stations worldwide by the end of this decade, starting in North America, where by 2027 there will be 400 charging parks with more than 2,500 charging stations should arise. Mercedes has already found partners there. First, MN8 Energy, one of the largest owners and operators of solar energy and battery storage in the United States. The two companies each share half of the costs: one billion euros is expected for the expansion in North America alone. On the other hand, Mercedes is working with Chargepoint, a leading charging infrastructure provider.

According to CEO Ola Källenius, Mercedes is still looking for a partner for Europe and China. Because Mercedes charging parks are also to be built there in the next few years – regardless of whether there will be new subsidies from individual countries or the EU. Overall, according to Källenius, the carmaker will invest a “low single-digit billion amount” in its own fast charging network. Mercedes is already involved in Ionity, a charging joint venture with other car manufacturers. Källenius emphasizes that such joint projects should continue to exist in addition to the company’s own charging network.

To put it simply, Mercedes is now doing something that Tesla relied on from the start: building a charging infrastructure that their own customers can use without extra apps or cards. Except that the Swabian pillars should also be accessible to other brands, which Tesla has only recently made possible at some locations. Anyone who drives a Mercedes still has the advantage of being able to reserve their charging space in the new network.

Källenius has been pushing for more charging stations for a long time

The Mercedes boss has long been known for his vehement push for more and faster charging stations. Källenius is convinced that this is the only way to successfully switch to electric cars. He repeatedly warned politicians to push ahead with the expansion of the charging infrastructure. The goal is clearly defined within the group: by 2030, Mercedes wants to be able to only sell electric cars. According to Källenius, the most important prerequisite for this is that the right framework conditions are in place everywhere – i.e. above all access to sufficient and fast charging stations.

Why is Mercedes taking the solution to this problem into its own hands now of all times? “Why not?” Counters Källenius. Perhaps it is due to the fact that people who buy luxury electric cars for more than 100,000 euros also want the corresponding luxury when charging. Because no matter how great the enthusiasm for the electric Mercedes cars may be – if there are problems with charging, it will be difficult for the German car manufacturer to sell its high-priced models in the medium and long term, especially in markets such as the USA, where the distances are long, fuel is cheap – which is why many people still swear by the good old combustion engine.

The Mercedes charging stations will not be in “backyards next to the garbage cans,” emphasizes Head of Development Markus Schäfer. You choose exactly where the ambience fits for the new charging parks. As a rule, they should be covered, offer access to food, drink and sanitary facilities – and be monitored by cameras. The charging speed should also be extremely high: the columns should be able to charge 350 kW. This would allow a range of 100 kilometers to be recharged in around three minutes. However, that is still a long way off, because an electric Mercedes currently only has a peak charging capacity of 200 kW.

The charged electricity should be green, but that doesn’t mean that Mercedes generates it entirely itself. Instead, “preferably through green electricity supply contracts” and certificates for renewable energies, it is ensured that the climate balance when charging at the Mercedes columns is good.

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