Seven automakers unite to accelerate growth of North America’s EV charging network

Colin
By Colin Wood
Jul 26, 2023 | BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, GM, electric, ev, General Motors, Stellantis, electric cars

Photograph Courtesy BMW

BMW, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis have teamed up to build “an unprecedented new charging network joint venture that will significantly expand access to high-powered charging in North America.”

The goal of the joint venture is to build some 30,000 high-powered DC charge points across the country, all of which will be powered only by renewable energy. This new charging network is also planned to be accessible to any electric vehicle, so long as it uses either the Combined Charging System or North American Charging Standard.

Need something to do while your car charges? They have a plan for that, too. The network will apparently be built at “appealing locations” that will offer all sorts of amenities while you wait.

Making use of both public and private funds, the venture is expecting to open the first stations in the United States in the summer of 2024, with stations in Canada to open “at a later stage.”

There’s a lot of information detailed in this release, so we’ll include it below for your reading enjoyment:

Seven of the world's leading automakers – BMW Group, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz Group, Stellantis NV – are creating a joint venture to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles in North America, by making EV charging more convenient, accessible and reliable. 

The joint venture will include the development of a new, high-powered charging network with at least 30,000 chargers to make zero-emission driving even more attractive for millions of customers. 

With the generational investments in public charging being implemented on the Federal and State level, the joint venture will leverage public and private funds to accelerate the installation of high-powered charging for customers. The new charging stations will be accessible to all battery-powered electric vehicles from any automaker using Combined Charging System (CCS) or North American Charging Standard (NACS) and are expected to meet or exceed the spirit and requirements of the U.S. National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program. 

The joint venture aims to become the leading network of reliable high-powered charging stations in North America. 

The joint venture is expected to be established this year, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. 

The first stations are expected to open in the United States in the summer of 2024 and in Canada at a later stage. Each site will be equipped with multiple high-powered DC chargers, making long-distance journeys easier for customers. In line with the sustainability strategies of all seven automakers, the joint venture intends to power the charging network solely by renewable energy.

Elevated Customer Experience
The new high-powered charging network will elevate the entire EV experience and drive EV adoption. 

The network will provide a seamless, vehicle integrated, best-in-class charging experience, based on renewable energy and supported by the quality, reliability, and resources of world-leading automakers. 

Focused on customer comfort and charging ease, the stations will be in convenient locations offering canopies wherever possible and amenities such as restrooms, food service and retail operations either nearby or within the same complex. A select number of flagship stations will be equipped with additional amenities, delivering a premier experience designed to showcase the future of charging. 

Initial plans call for the deployment of charging stations in metropolitan areas and along major highways, including connecting corridors and vacation routes, aiming to offer a charging station wherever people may choose to live, work and travel.

The functions and services of the network will allow for seamless integration with participating automakers' in-vehicle and in-app experiences, including reservations, intelligent route planning and navigation, payment applications, transparent energy management and more. In addition, the network will leverage Plug & Charge technology to further enhance the customer experience.

An Open Network to Drive Electric Vehicle Growth 
As more electric vehicles are introduced and the rate of consumer adoption increases, the demand for fast and reliable public charging also grows in parallel. 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, as of July 2023, there are 32,000 publicly available DC fast chargers in the United States for use by 2.3 million electric vehicles, a ratio of 72 vehicles per charger. The NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) estimates that 182,000 DC fast chargers will be needed to support 30-42 million plug-in vehicles expected on the road by 2030.

With U.S. electric vehicle sales expected to exceed 50% of total U.S. sales by 2030, the expansion of reliable charging infrastructure will become even more critical to widespread electric vehicle adoption.

The creation of a best-in-class charging network will ensure that the EV infrastructure will support current and projected EV sales and will foster the adoption of electric vehicles.

Comments from JV Founding Partners
BMW Group CEO Oliver Zipse: "North America is one of the world's most important car markets – with the potential to be a leader in electromobility. Accessibility to high-speed charging is one of the key enablers to accelerate this transition. Therefore, seven automakers are forming this joint venture with the goal of creating a positive charging experience for EV consumers. The BMW Group is proud to be among the founders."

GM CEO Mary Barra:"GM's commitment to an all-electric future is focused not only on delivering EVs our customers love, but investing in charging and working across the industry to make it more accessible. The better experience people have, the faster EV adoption will grow."

Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe: "The creation of EV charging services is an opportunity for automakers to produce excellent user experiences by providing complete, convenient and sustainable solutions for our customers. Toward that objective, this joint venture will be a critical step in accelerating EV adoption across the U.S. and Canada and supporting our efforts to achieve carbon neutrality."

Hyundai CEO Jaehoon Chang: "Hyundai's investment in this project aligns with our 'Progress for Humanity' vision in making sustainable transportation more accessible. Hyundai's expertise in electrification will help redefine the charging landscape and we look forward to working with our other shareholders as we create this expansive high-powered charging network."

Kia CEO Ho Sung Song: "Kia's engagement and investment in this high-powered charging joint venture is set to increase charging access and convenience to current and future drivers and therefore accelerate the transition to EVs across North America. Kia is proud to be an important part of this joint venture with other reputable automakers as we embark on a journey towards seamless charging experiences for our customers and further strengthening Kia's brand identity in the EV market."

Mercedes-Benz Group CEO Ola Källenius: "The fight against climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. What we need now is speed – across political, social and corporate boundaries. To accelerate the shift to electric vehicles, we're in favor of anything that makes life easier for our customers. Charging is an inseparable part of the EV-experience, and this network will be another step to make it as convenient as possible."

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares: "We intend to exceed customer expectations by creating more opportunities for a seamless charging experience given the significant growth expected in the market. We believe that a charging network at scale is vital to protecting freedom of mobility for all, especially as we work to achieve our ambitious carbon neutrality plan. A strong charging network should be available for all - under the same conditions - and be built together with a win-win spirit. I want to thank each colleague involved, as it is a milestone example of our collective intelligence to listen and serve our customers."

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Comments
Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/26/23 1:45 p.m.

What charger plug are they going to use though?

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/26/23 1:46 p.m.

no chance this is gonna be a cluster

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/26/23 1:52 p.m.

Sweet! I'm going to miss stopping at Walmart every single charge....

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/26/23 1:52 p.m.

In reply to Javelin :

It says in the item that they'll use CCS and NACS. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/26/23 1:54 p.m.

Covered chargers, perhaps? 

dclafleur
dclafleur Reader
7/26/23 2:03 p.m.

Interesting, a bit late to get on the NEVI funding. No mention of suppliers for the chargers either. It'll be more interesting when there are details.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
7/26/23 2:07 p.m.
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:

no chance this is gonna be a cluster

Agreed. I had hopes until we got to the "all the chargers will be renewable".... I understand trying to make as many as possible, but it's not feasible IMO. But much like the model 2 all we can do is wait and see. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 PowerDork
7/26/23 2:17 p.m.

Very clever business model. They need infrastructure to support more cars so................

A. Put the charging stations near destinations people will want to be at; makes EVs more appealing

B. More people will spend more time at these destinations.

C. These companies can either charge the destination for having the chargers there or at the very least get a better deal on the facility based on the increased revenue for the destinations.

D. Overall makes EVs more appealing and that means more sales.

 

racerfink
racerfink UberDork
7/26/23 2:22 p.m.

Any word about improving the existing (or even building new) power plants to supply all the needed energy for all these superchargers?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/26/23 2:25 p.m.
bobzilla said:
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:

no chance this is gonna be a cluster

Agreed. I had hopes until we got to the "all the chargers will be renewable".... I understand trying to make as many as possible, but it's not feasible IMO. But much like the model 2 all we can do is wait and see. 

Idk, that part seems easy. They'll probably just buy offsets or renewable energy to claim that every single electron came from renewables, even if it physically came from the coal plant next door. 

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