In a strategic move to bolster electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure, Mercedes-Benz is gearing up to inaugurate its initial batch of 30 high-power fast-charging (HPC) parks across Europe by the culmination of 2024. This landmark initiative, part of the automaker's ambitious worldwide HPC network, aims to provide more than 200 charging points and signifies a noteworthy step towards advancing the EV landscape in the region.
Citing insights from Franz Reiner, the head of the subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Mobility, the revelation of the premier European HPC charging site emerges from Mannheim, Germany, slated to commence operations this year. Parallel to this, the pioneering HPC locales are set to debut nearly simultaneously in Atlanta, USA, and Chengdu, China.
On a global scale, Mercedes-Benz is orchestrating the rollout of 2,000 inaugural charging points by the close of 2024, with 200 of these slated for the European continent. The auto giant, having unveiled its ambitious plan at CES in January, envisions an extensive network comprising 10,000 HPC points by 2030. Reiner's March pronouncement further detailed the impending launch timeline, indicating that installation will be initiated in the fourth quarter of 2023 across the United States, Germany, and France. While the 350 kW charging stations are accessible to the general public, Mercedes patrons are poised to gain certain privileges, including a reservation functionality.
While Mannheim stands as the confirmed European location for Mercedes' initial foray into HPC charging, the company has yet to divulge additional specific sites. Unlike Tesla's approach, Mercedes-Benz will not be directly involved in the construction of the charging infrastructure. According to Reiner, “We at Mercedes-Benz do not expect to apply directly for government subsidies for the charging stations. As a rule, our partners will do that.” The compatibility of such subsidies, which typically demand non-discriminatory access, with the reserved charging functionality exclusive to Mercedes drivers, remains a query.
Unlike Porsche's lounging facilities seen at its Bingen am Rhein site, Mercedes does not have plans for a dedicated lounge area. However, the HPC stations are set to feature roofing and “other amenities in the near vicinity,” potentially leveraging the proximate car dealerships. Reiner highlights the focus on demand and customer feedback, asserting that “the availability of the charging infrastructure is in the foreground, with a digital payment process and the possibility of reserving charging points in advance.”
Remarkably, the identity of Mercedes' European charging partner is yet to be disclosed. In North America, the automaker has teamed up with MN8 Energy and ChargePoint for the construction of charging parks, envisaging more than 400 sites and over 2,500 HPC chargers by 2027 across the United States and Canada. This concerted effort underscores Mercedes-Benz's commitment to electrification, carving a dynamic path towards a sustainable automotive future.