A group of seven multinational automakers announced their plans to create a new charging network in North America on Wednesday. This network aims to significantly expand access to high-powered charging stations for electric vehicles.
The new charging network is a challenge to Tesla’s NACS network, which has been adopted by many automakers in the last two months. The seven car companies who are forming the new charging network are BMW, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz Group, and Stellantis.
The joint venture, which is yet to be named, is set to install over 30,000 high-powered charge plugs across North America. The venture aims to have the first stations operational by the summer of 2024. To fund this ambitious project, the automakers collectively plan to invest at least $1 billion.
One notable aspect of this new network is its inclusivity. It will support any battery-powered EV from any manufacturer, as long as the vehicle uses either the Combined Charging System (CCS) or Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS).
It remains uncertain whether the charging stations will natively support Tesla’s NACS standard or require the use of an adapter.
Two of the automakers involved in this venture, GM and Mercedes, have existing partnerships with Tesla. They are incorporating the NACS plug into their North American vehicles by 2025 and gaining access to Tesla’s Supercharger network starting next year. There are also rumors of Hyundai and Kia discussing a similar arrangement with Tesla.
Both GM and Mercedes have promised that their collaboration with the new joint venture will not impact their existing partnerships with Tesla. They remain committed to investing in an EV ecosystem that provides widespread access to charging for EV drivers.
The new charging network will differ from traditional charging stations operated by other networks like ChargePoint, EVgo, or Electrify America. Charging stations will feature multiple high-power DC chargers at each location, along with amenities such as food service and restrooms. Additionally, the network will be powered entirely by renewable energy sources.
Initially, the stations will be strategically placed near major metropolitan areas. The network will expand to more remote locations as time goes on.
The establishment of the joint venture is expected to take place later this year, pending regulatory approval.