Mercedes and BMW to open fast-charging network in China
According to the two automotive groups, the joint venture is to establish a charging network of at least 1,000 locations with a total of around 7,000 fast-charging points by the end of 2026 – using “state-of-the-art charging technologies”. That makes an average of seven charging points per location. However, there is no information on the exact size of the charging parks.
The joint venture is aiming for the first fast-charging stations in 2024 in the regions of China with the highest density of electric cars and plug-in hybrids. “Wherever possible”, electricity is to be sourced directly from renewable sources. BMW and Mercedes are not commenting on the planned charging capacity. Their almost identical announcements are rather brief.
The two premium car manufacturers’ fast-charging network will be publicly accessible and available for all vehicle brands. However, Mercedes-Benz and BMW customers will benefit from a range of exclusive functions such as Plug & Charge and advance reservation of charging points.
The establishment of the joint venture is currently still subject to the approval of the supervisory authorities. The manufacturers are not revealing any further details. For example, it remains unclear what the initial budget of the joint venture will be, what it will be called and where it will be based.
The few statements in the announcements remain rather general: “Both Mercedes-Benz and BMW will apply the expertise gained from global and Chinese charging operations, as well as the in-depth understanding of the Chinese new energy vehicle (NEV) market, to deliver fast, convenient, reliable and tailor-made charging solutions for the Chinese market,” it says. The aim is to provide a reliable and convenient charging experience “through a special focus on availability, speed and quality”.
Mercedes-Benz had already announced plans in January to set up its own high-power charging network in North America, Europe, China and other core markets and has since opened the first locations of this HPC network in China, the USA and Europe.
The HPC locations rolled out by Mercedes on its own initiative are also open to all brands, but special functions such as reservations are only offered to the company’s own customers. Mercedes-Benz is planning more than 2,000 charging hubs with a total of 10,000 charging points worldwide by the end of this decade. In China, activities in this area are now likely to be coordinated with the new joint venture. However, Mercedes’ HPC network is not mentioned in the two companies’ press releases.
BMW has not yet built or operated any public charging stations under its own label. The Bavarian company is only involved in the development of HPC networks via larger joint ventures such as Ionity in Europe and a major project in the USA initiated by seven car companies in the summer. With its current focus on China, however, BMW at least covers the three core regions of Europe, the USA and China in this way.