EU Commission approves German charging joint venture for China
The European Commission has approved the plans under the EU Merger Regulation and quickened the process. This means Mercedes-Benz Group China and BMW Brilliance Automotive can establish a 50:50 joint venture for a fast-charging network in China. They reportedly want to build 1,000 locations to host about 7,000 EV charge points open to any EV driver by the end of 2026.
In its statement today, the Commission concluded that the notified transaction would not raise competition concerns, given the limited impact on the European Economic Area.
The joint venture wants to start installations in China this year, focusing on regions with the highest density of electric cars and plug-in hybrids. “Wherever possible”, electricity is to be sourced directly from renewable sources, the partners said when announcing the JV in November 2023.
Details on charging capacity or exact technology have yet to be released. The carmakers did announce that customers will benefit from various functions such as Plug & Charge and reservations.
“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,” the statements read at the time.
Mercedes-Benz has experience setting up high-power charging networks with initiatives underway in China, the USA and Europe. The carmaker targets running more than 2,000 HPC hubs with 10,000 charging points worldwide by the end of this decade. In China, activities in this area may be coordinated with the new joint venture, although this remains unconfirmed.
BMW, on the other hand, must still build or operate public charging stations under its own label. The Bavarian company is only involved in developing 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.