With electric vehicles and the necessary charging infrastructure on everyone's mind these days, Mercedes-Benz's announcement of its charging network is particularly timely.
The automaker gave details of its plans during the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) event in Las Vegas this week.
The high-speed charging stations will be open to other brands, not just Mercedes.
Update 1/7/2023: Markus Schaefer, Chief Technology Officer at Mercedes-Benz, provided additional details about the project, which we've added below.
Mercedes-Benz is preparing to launch a new, open electric vehicle charger network in North America later this year. Mercedes plans to have more than 400 hubs, also known stations, with more than 2,500 high-powered, plug-in chargers, operating across North America by 2027.
Mercedes said the network will also expand to more than 10,000 chargers in Europe, China and "other major markets" by the end of the decade. Initially, Mercedes plans for each center to have between four and a dozen chargers, but that number could grow to 30 chargers per center in the future.
One of the main reasons Mercedes wants to spend billions to acquire land and install thousands of charging stations is to improve the Mercedes driver experience for electric vehicles, according to Markus Schaefer, Mercedes-Benz chief technology officer, who spoke to the media during this CES show. week. Schaefer said customers have made clear what they think of existing EV charging solutions, and the level of dissatisfaction has led Mercedes to decide to "do things right, the way we think things should work." This means creating safe, clean and convenient station locations and a technological back end that provides benefits for Mercedes drivers.
This includes discounted rates for Mercedes me Charge users and a way for Mercedes EVs to direct you to charging stations on long trips and automatically book a charging appointment at a convenient location. If you take a different route or encounter traffic, the reservation can be updated dynamically without further effort on the part of the driver. Mercedes-Benz drivers can manually book time at a charging station from their car, for example, and the network will "prioritize Mercedes-Benz customers". From the driver's perspective, the Mercedes e-cars navigation system will be able to communicate with the charging network and then optimize the route and automatically book charging sessions, if needed, so that you get where you are going on time and without bandwidth. anxiety. The final system will "likely" not pay any non-Mercedes drivers at a busy station without an open plug, Schaefer said, and instead will take drivers to a nearby public charging station. Even with the Vision EQXX on the stand, Mercedes-Benz's big announcement at CES this year wasn't a new car but the news that the automaker is getting into the high-powered - up to 350kW - grid game. The charging network will be open to drivers of any compatible electric vehicle, and locations will be chosen to be close to major urban areas, close to major roads and at participating Mercedes-Benz dealerships. The stations will use Plug & Charge technology allowing payment details to be sent from the vehicle to the charger without any further interaction, but credit card and app-based payments will also be possible.
Other brands are welcome
Just because the terminals open for any compatible EVs doesn't mean there's nothing special for EQS drivers or other 3-star plug-in models. Mercedes-Benz drivers will be able to pre-book time at a charging station from their car, for example, and the network will "prioritize Mercedes-Benz customers." From the driver's perspective, the Mercedes E-cars navigation system will be able to communicate with the charging network and then automatically optimize the route and automatically book charging sessions, if necessary, so that you get where you are going on time and with nothing left to do. Scale anxiety.
Tesla has led the way in charging stations operated by automakers for electric vehicles, but nearly all of their 40,000 superchargers use a Tesla-proprietary adapter and are not compatible with other electric vehicles.