A new, premium North American charging network has officially opened up, as Mercedes-Benz launches its first EV charging hub of its all-new Mercedes-Benz High-Power Charging Network at the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz USA in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
Several more charging hubs will be opened across Texas and the southeast by the end of 2023. The plan is to deploy at least 400 charging hubs with over 2,500 chargers across North America by the decade’s end. Globally, the installation target is for 2,000 hubs with over 10,000 chargers.
Mercedes-Benz is committed to investing over $1 billion in a joint venture with MN8 Energy (Mercedes-Benz HPC North America) to build North America’s fastest EV charging network by 2030. Increased charging speed is not the only goal, as the German manufacturer intends to set a new benchmark for quality and customer experience in the charging industry with a convenient, clean, and reliable service.
The Mercedes-Benz High-Power Charging Network is set to become a premium one, although it will be open to all EV brands.
One of the most interesting things about this development is that Mercedes-Benz will start immediately with a 400-kW power level at all chargers with CCS1 plugs. Such a power level is above most electric cars currently available. In the future, there will also be NACS plugs available. The chargers are provided by ChargePoint.
The first site in Sandy Springs, Georgia, is exceptionally well equipped, providing users with a special lounge and solar canopy:
- 400kW Chargers: The first chargers installed are provided by ChargePoint and are all capable of charging rates of up to 400kW, offering customers some of the fastest charging speeds in the industry.
- Open to all from day one: Drivers of EVs from any brand can charge their vehicle and enjoy a Mercedes-Benz brand commensurate experience.
- Charging lounge: Charging hub customers can enjoy a premium, clean and comfortable environment while their vehicle charges, complete with couches and lounge chairs, vending machines, refreshments, and restroom facilities.
- Solar Canopy: This will provide weather cover for customers, with overhead LED lighting for safety and solar panels on top to generate passive clean electricity.
- Intelligent Indicators: A pylon built to a height of 15 feet, visible from the street, indicates the status of the charging stall: in use, free or reserved.
- Accessibility: The charging hub includes one charging spot, closest to the charging lounge, designed especially for handicap accessible vehicles, as well as one uncovered, drive-through charging spot that is designed for electric vans or EVs with trailers up to 26 feet in length.
- Powered by clean energy: Through both direct and indirect means, the charging hub uses renewable energy and is carbon neutral.
Not all sites will get a solar canopy, but depending on the location, there might be a high number of amenities. Select locations will feature an exclusive charging lounge.
When expanding the Mercedes-Benz High-Power Charging Network, the main focus will be on the value for drivers, which means building at top locations near main routes and providing retail integration. This is why many of the new charging hubs will be built at Simon and Buc-ee’s locations. Mercedes-Benz explains that “Simon retail outlets are destinations for food, shopping and socializing located in key areas of EV saturation – where customers are – and Buc-ee’s locations are the world’s most-loved travel centers located strategically along key travel corridors and EV charging deserts – where customers are going.”
Without any surprises, Mercedes-Benz electric cars will get some exclusive driver perks as Mercedes-Benz launches its first EV charging hub. One of the main ones is the ability to simply reserve a charging stall – something that EVs from other manufacturers will not be able to offer:
“Mercedes-Benz Charging Hubs will offer exclusive benefits for Mercedes-Benz EV drivers. These privileges include automatic charger reservations enabled by the native Navigation with Electric Intelligence feature 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.”
Additionally, all currently owned Mercedes EQ vehicles will receive six months of free charging at the site, while new ones from the 2024 model year onward will receive two years of unlimited complimentary charging. It will be interesting to see whether such packages will also be offered by other brands, since that would require an agreement with Mercedes-Benz. Such potential partnerships could also impact general pricing and make charging higher than average in other networks, considering the necessary investments.
Franz Reiner, the Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Mobility AG, said:
“The Mercedes-Benz Charging Network expands global charging options for customers of all EV brands to promote clean, electric mobility. 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. These efforts will pave the way for greater EV adoption here in North America and around the world.”
Jon Yoder, the President and CEO of MN8 Energy, said:
“At the onset of MN8’s partnership with Mercedes-Benz to build an unparalleled charging experience, we shared a vision of bringing the decarbonized future faster. The incredible speed with which we’ve made that vision a reality, demonstrated by the inauguration of the charging experience here at Mercedes-Benz USA Headquarters and the sites that will follow later this year, is a testament to the strength of our purpose and outstanding abilities of our teams.”
Andrew Cornelia, the President & CEO of Mercedes-Benz HPC North America LLC, said:
“With the official launch of the Mercedes-Benz Charging Network in North America, we aim to set a new standard for a quality charging experience for the entire industry. Our driver-first network will deliver some of the fastest charging speeds and will be openly accessible to all EV drivers from day one.”