To address continuing dissatisfaction with public charging stations that aren’t Tesla’s Supercharger network, Mercedes aims to build a network of its own that provides similar performance to Tesla’s with better customer amenities.
The company is making the first steps toward making the Mercedes-Benz High-Power Charging Network a reality, with the imminent opening of the first charging stations near its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. Similar networks in other countries are starting with stations in Chengdu, China, and Mannheim, Germany, which are also slated to open in the fourth quarter of 2023.
“Our goal is to create an infrastructure that offers electric vehicles reliable and easy charging options,” said Franz Reiner, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Mobility AG. “In this way, we are actively supporting the transformation to electric mobility With the Mercedes-Benz High-Power Charging Network, we are expanding global charging options and setting new standards in electric vehicle charging.”
The company’s stated goal is to have 2,000 fast charging points worldwide by the end of 2024 and more than 10,000 high-power chargers by 2030. Mercedes is a member of the coalition of seven carmakers that have pledged to collectively build 30,000 public fast-charging stations. The other members of the coalition are BMW, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Chrysler parent Stellantis.
For comparison, Tesla’s Supercharger network has more than 2,000 locations in the U.S., each with multiple charging points. Mercedes is among the companies that have pledged to switch their cars to Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) specification, and its charging network will support both the SAE Combined Charging System and NACS at least initially.
As the companies involved in the charging coalition promised, Mercedes says that its charging network will improve the amenities available to customers, as would be expected from a brand like Mercedes-Benz. That means a pleasant and safe customer experience. In addition to refreshments, snacks, and restroom facilities, Mercedes plans to equip the charging stations with surveillance cameras for security.
Customers are antsy about the notion of being stuck somewhere for extended periods of time because it could make them vulnerable to criminals, so Mercedes seeks to allay that concern with security cameras.
At some locations, there will be intelligent light poles with functional LED elements that provide information on the availability of the charging point and the charging status of the vehicle. Significantly, Mercedes will install canopies at some charging hubs for weather protection. The company hasn’t said why it won’t cover all its chargers as is customary for gas pumps.
While the charging network is open to drivers of all brands, as you’d expect as a member of a charging coalition, Mercedes-Benz customers will get some special benefits. One is the ability to reserve a charging point via the Mercedes-Benz me Charge service to reduce waiting times. And the Plug & Charge feature will let Mercedes-Benz customers automatically charge and pay as soon as the charging connector is plugged into the car’s port.