The race to not only produce desirable EVs, but get a portion of the charging revenue just got a little more competitive today. Mercedes-Benz cut the ribbon on the first of scores of new Mercedes-branded charging stations coming across the southern U.S.
Mercedes-Benz just launched its new branded high-speed charging network designed to be the most advanced in North America.
The prototype station is located at the company’s headquarters in Sandy Springs, Georgia, and executives cut the ribbon there. Additional stations are planned to open across the Southeastern United States from Texas to Florida before the end of 2023.
The company will continue with the buildout starting in 2024 and continuing to the end of the decade. Once complete, Mercedes estimates it will invest more than $1 billion in charging infrastructure.
High speed charging
The chargers at the pilot station are built by ChargePoint, and all are capable of supporting up to 400kW. Even though the locations are branded by Mercedes, any brand of vehicle is welcome to use the station.
The pilot station is intended as a model for all subsequent stations, and it includes a climate-controlled indoor lounge with couches and lounge chairs, vending machines, refreshments and restroom facilities. Additionally, the charging stations themselves are covered with a solar panel roof, and each stall includes a pylon visible from the road showing its availability status.
“We want to make sure that we’re providing amenities that could be open 24/7, like clean bathrooms. The things that I think we take for granted, but are important when we’re traveling,” said Andrew Cornelia, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz High Performance Charging for North America (HPC NA).
The Mercedes-Benz Charging Network will offer chargers of up to 400kW at all charging hubs, enabling certain EVs to charge from 10% to 80% in less than 20 minutes. All stations will feature both SAE-standard CCS1 and NACS connectors. Mercedes-Benz previously announced it will shift from the CCS1 connectors to NACS in the next few years.
Partnership with retail locations
Mercedes’ goal is to provide charging options in locations frequented by EV drivers in urban areas and along major travel corridors. Consequently, Mercedes-Benz HPC NA announced that several hubs will open at Buc-ee’s travel centers in Texas, Florida, Alabama and Georgia by the end of 2023, with further expansion in 2024. Charging hubs at Simon Mall locations are planned to launch in the first half of 2024.
“In North America, our strategy is clear: focusing on where EV drivers are and where they are going to enhance the North American EV charging map while setting new standards for quality and customer experience,” said Franz Reiner, chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Mobility AG. “These efforts will pave the way for greater EV adoption here in North America and around the world.”
Special Benefits for Mercedes drivers
Although any EV will be welcome at the Mercedes stations, some special benefits will apply to Mercedes-Benz EVs. Mercedes charging hubs will offer automatic charger reservations enabled by the in-car navigation on Mercedes-EQ models, and the “Plug & Charge” feature for users of the Mercedes me Charge app. This allows Mercedes-EQ drivers to pull up, plug in and walk away as their charging session starts, ends and processes payment, without drivers having to worry about a thing.
Further, drivers of model year 2024 Mercedes-EQ cars and SUVs will receive two years of unlimited complimentary charging at Mercedes-Benz charging hubs, while current drivers of Mercedes-EQ vehicles will receive six months of free charging.