Mercedes-Benz plans to launch a DC fast charging network across North America, Europe, China and “other key markets.” It will begin this year in the US and Canada, and hopes to have the full network in place before the end of the decade, when the automaker means to go all-electric “wherever market conditions allow.”
Recently, some brands have announced vast new “networks” that in fact consist merely of roaming agreements that allow drivers to use existing public chargers. However, this appears to be a real network of real new hardware. Together with partners including network operator ChargePoint and solar energy and battery storage provider MN8 Energy, Mercedes plans to deploy some 400 hubs with ovr 2,500 chargers across North America by 2027. Together, Mercedes and MN8 will invest around one billion euros over the next 6-7 years.
The charging hubs will be located “in key cities and urban population centers, close to major arteries, convenient retail and service destinations, including participating Mercedes‑Benz dealerships.” They will be open to all EV drivers, but Mercedes customers will enjoy “preferential access via a reservation function and other benefits.”
Each charging hub will offer “4 to 12, and ultimately as many as 30” DC fast chargers with up to 350 kW of power, and will support Plug and Charge. Intelligent load management will help to maximize charging power and reduce wait times and, at selected sites, photovoltaic systems will provide electricity for lighting and video surveillance.
Mercedes seems to be paying attention to feedback from EV drivers about the public charging experience. It says the stations will be laid out to ensure plenty of space around vehicles and allow charging from either side. Protection from the weather will be provided “where feasible,” and sites will be located near restrooms and food vendors.
“Our customers deserve a compelling charging experience that makes electric vehicle ownership and long-distance travel effortless,” said Mercedes-Benz Group Chairman of the Board Ola Källenius. “We won’t take a wait-and-see approach for this to be built. That’s why we are launching a global high-end charging network. It’s designed to become another differentiator of Mercedes-Benz ownership for our customers.”