LAS VEGAS & STUTTGART, Germany—Mercedes-Benz announced it is building a high-power EV charging network across North America, Europe China and other key markets, beginning in North America. The charging hubs will be located in key cities and urban population centers, according to Mercedes-Benz, close to major arteries, convenient retail and service destinations, including participating Mercedes-Benz dealership sites.
In North America, Mercedes-Benz will collaborate with MN8 Energy, a U.S. solar energy and battery storage owner and operator, and ChargePoint. The automaker plans to have more than 400 hubs across North America with more than 2,500 high-power chargers.
The charging network will focus first and foremost on Mercedes-Benz customers, who will enjoy preferential access via a reservation function and other benefits. However, it will also be open to drivers of all other brands with compatible technology.
Mercedes-Benz believes the move will enhance the usability and convenience of its new generation of electric vehicles, differentiate the Mercedes-Benz ownership experience and accelerate the EV transformation.
“Mercedes-Benz already offers what we believe to be the finest EVs in the market. But to accelerate the electric transformation, we need to ensure that the charging experience keeps pace as well,” said Ola Källenius, board chairman for Mercedes-Benz’s management board. “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 and an asset with value creation potential for our company.”
Mercedes-Benz aims to have the full network in place before the end of the decade, when the automaker intends to go all-electric wherever market conditions allow. The full network will include more than 2,000 charging stations and over 10,000 plugs worldwide, reports the Los Angeles Times. The company is investing over $1 billion in the initiative.
When considering the purchase of an electric vehicle, 48% of Americans are concerned about range anxiety, 47% are worried about the time it takes to charge an EV, and 46% are unsure about the lack of a public EV charging infrastructure, according to a recent Deloitte survey.
Also, when charging on the go, 24% of U.S. consumers want a dedicated EV service station, and 20% want a traditional gas station with EV chargers. However, a significant number of people surveyed (25%) in the U.S. simply want access to charging when they need it regardless of location.
While they are waiting to juice up, American EV drivers say their top desired amenity is Wi-Fi connectivity (64%). Restrooms (60%), coffee/beverages (56%) and snacks/light meals (48%) were the next most desired offerings. Only a third of respondents were looking for a full-service restaurant, and less than half want a lounge/sitting area.
Because these EV owners will have time on their hands to spend at c-stores while their vehicles recharge, some retail experts say that c-stores may be required to change their formats. Here are five things c-stores can offer waiting EV customers.
NACS has created the EV Charging Calculator, which allows retailers to assess the cost and profitability of offering EV chargers at their sites. The calculator focuses on what retailer utility costs associated with EV recharging are and what the corresponding revenue must be to recover those costs after allowing for potential ancillary in-store visits and purchase profitability.
The Convenience Matters podcast, “Where Do EVs Make the Most Sense?” examines the findings from a Fuels Institute study looking at life-cycle emissions for EVs and fuel-powered vehicles. NACS also has a topics page on electric vehicles.