Seven of the world's largest automakers—BMW Group, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz Group and Stellantis NV—have joined forces to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles in North America by “making EV charging more convenient, accessible and reliable,” they announced in a press release on Wednesday.
The collaboration aims to create a network of reliable, high-powered charging stations in North America scheduled to open by mid-2024. The development will include a high-powered charging network with at least 30,000 chargers.
“GM's commitment to an all-electric future is focused not only on delivering EVs our customers love, but investing in charging and working across the industry to make it more accessible. The better experience people have, the faster EV adoption will grow,” said General Motors CEO Mary Barra.
According to Axios, “The unusual effort by industry giants is also seen as a bid to quell Tesla's growing influence over the EV ecosystem after it said it would open its own Supercharger network to other brands.”
“Traditional automakers for years were reluctant to invest directly in charging stations. But that has changed in the past few years as EV adoption becomes critical to their business strategies,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
Each site will be equipped with multiple high-powered DC chargers, making long-distance journeys easier for customers. Planned locations will offer canopies wherever possible and amenities such as restrooms, foodservice and retail operations either nearby or within the same complex. Flagship stations will be equipped with additional amenities, delivering a premier experience designed to showcase the future of charging.
The new charging stations will be accessible to all battery-powered electric vehicles from any automaker using Combined Charging System (CCS) or North American Charging Standard (NACS) and are expected to meet or exceed the spirit and requirements of the U.S. National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program.
Mercedes-Benz Group CEO Ola Källenius said in the statement, “To accelerate the shift to electric vehicles, we're in favor of anything that makes life easier for our customers. Charging is an inseparable part of the EV experience, and this network will be another step to make it as convenient as possible.”
Initial plans call for the deployment of charging stations in metropolitan areas and along major highways, including connecting corridors and vacation routes.
The network will allow for seamless integration with participating automakers' in-vehicle and in-app experiences, including reservations, intelligent route planning and navigation, payment applications, transparent energy management and more. In addition, the network will leverage Plug & Charge technology to further enhance the customer experience.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, as of July 2023, there are 32,000 publicly available DC fast chargers in the U.S. for use by 2.3 million electric vehicles, a ratio of 72 vehicles per charger. The NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) estimates that 182,000 DC fast chargers will be needed to support 30-42 million plug-in vehicles expected on the road by 2030.
NACS Daily reported on Europe’s new rules to extend its fast-charging EV network in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030.
In line with the sustainability strategies of all seven automakers, the joint venture intends to power the charging network solely by renewable energy.