You can’t have more electric cars without more charging stations, so Mercedes-Benz is building a global charging network covering North America, China, Europe, and other major markets to support its goal of going all-electric by the end of the decade where market conditions allow.
Announced at CES 2023, the network should be in place by the end of the decade in line with Mercedes’ electrification goal. It’s a bold move by the automaker, which has mostly relied on third-party charging networks until now.
Mercedes envisions “charging hubs” located in key cities and other population centers, positioned near traffic arteries and places drivers might need to stop, including retail locations and Mercedes dealerships. Unlike many current charging sites, Mercedes also plans to ensure amenities like food and restrooms are available, and will install surveillance cameras and some form of protection from weather (where feasible).
Each hub will have between four and 12 DC fast chargers, depending on location, with some offering as many as 30. Each charger will have a maximum output of 350 kilowatts — the highest currently available — with charge-to-load management to ensure all cars can charge at the fastest speeds at all times. Mercedes drivers will be able to plug in and start charging automatically thanks to the Plug and Charge protocol built into the automaker’s EVs.
To make charging more sustainable, Mercedes plans to buy electricity from renewable sources, while installing solar panels to provide power for onsite lighting and video surveillance. Solar panels will be provided by MN8 Energy, which is also a 50% investor in the North American arm of the Mercedes charging network. EV charging network operator ChargePoint will provide its expertise in setting things up.
Mercedes currently relies on its Mercedes Me Charge service to direct American drivers to charging stations on existing networks. It also teamed up with other automakers to launch the Ionity charging network in Europe.
More charging options will help support the growing lineup of Mercedes EVs. The EQS sedan arrived in late 2021, with the EQB, EQE sedan, and EQS SUV following in 2022 in rapid-fire fashion. An EQE SUV and an electric version of the iconic Mercedes G-Class are also on the way.