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Car giants unite to double the size of North America’s fast-charging infrastructure

BMW Group, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz Group and Stellantis are joining forces to create a completely new charging network joint venture that will significantly increase access to high-powered charging in the USA and subsequently, Canada.

The group aim to install at least 30,000 high-powered charge points in urban and highway locations and they will be accessible to all EV customers, offering both Combined Charging System (CCS) and North American Charging Standard (NACS) connectors.

The United States and Canada currently have about 36,000 fast chargers, half of which are in Tesla’s (NACS) network. North America also has around 125,000 slow public chargers. 

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that 182,000 fast chargers will be needed to support the 30-42 million plug-in vehicles expected on the road by 2030.

In May, Ford made headlines when it announced it was switching over to NACS. At the time, Ford CEO Jim Farley was asked why the company didn’t role out their own network as Mercedes-Benz had announced they were doing. He replied: ‘It is too expensive…We’re starting 10 years too late.’

Ford will started providing current owners with CCS1 to NACS adapters from next years and will begin selling NACS vehicles from 2025.

Perhaps this explains Ford’s absence from the group of seven although that group does include General Motors, and GM had been quick to follow Ford in saying they were turning to the NACS standard.

The joint venture group have said that the 30,000 new high-powered charge points will be installed in urban and highway locations and will focus on delivering ‘an elevated customer experience.’ The network will, they say, provide reliability, high-powered charging capability, digital integration and will use renewable energy.

The group emphasise the environment which customers at their charge stations will enjoy: ‘canopies wherever possible and amenities such as restrooms, food service and retail operations either nearby or within the same complex.’ They also talk of a select number of flagship stations which will be equipped with additional amenities, delivering ‘a premier experience designed to showcase the future of charging.’

The first of these stations are scheduled to open in the USA in the summer of 2024 and in Canada at a later, unconfirmed date. 

Mercedes-Benz Group CEO Ola Källenius said: ‘The fight against climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. What we need now is speed – across political, social and corporate boundaries. 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.’

 

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