In July, GM announced that it was partnering with EVGo to establish a "coast-to-coast" charging network for its electric vehicles. On Thursday, Mercedes Benz announced that it will be building a network of its own — at least, in partnership with Chargepoint — that will be accessible no matter what make or model of EV you drive.
Mercedes and Chargepoint plan to establish 400 new charging hubs throughout the US and Canada — that's 2,500 new DC fast chargers in all — "in key cities and urban population centers, along major highway corridors and close to convenient retail and service destinations," according to Thursday's announcement. The automaker and MN8 Energy will finance the scheme while Chargepoint will supply the hardware and infrastructure. Chargepoint in 2020 partnered with NATSO for a billion-dollar project to install its chargers along rural highways. Those effort continue.
The hubs and DC fast chargers will all be accessible by EV drivers of all stripes, regardless of their vehicle type — the inverse of Tesla's proprietary network. But since Mercedes is pulling the purse strings, its customers can look forward to a few extra perks when they pull into a hub. That includes being able to reserve a space ahead of time and automatic vehicle-station handshake authentication.
Each charger can deliver up to 500V of power, allowing 400V-architecture vehicles like the Rivian R1T to take full advantage of the increased power transmission while 800V vehicles like the Audi A6 e-tron, the Porsche Taycan, Hyundai's Ioniq 5 and Kia's EV6 will see improved charge times though not the upper limit of what their electrical systems can handle. The company notes that these chargers are, "designed to easily scale to meet future demand as EV adoption and vehicle capability grows."