In a groundbreaking collaboration, seven of the world’s top automakers, namely BMW Group, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz Group, and Stellantis NV, have joined forces to expedite the transition to electric vehicles in North America. Their aim is to enhance the convenience, accessibility, and reliability of EV charging, with the ultimate goal of enticing millions of customers to embrace zero-emission driving.

At the core of this joint venture is the development of a cutting-edge, high-powered charging network featuring a staggering 30,000 chargers. This ambitious infrastructure is set to cater to all battery-powered electric vehicles, regardless of the automaker, utilizing either the Combined Charging System (CCS) or North American Charging Standard (NACS). Importantly, it is expected to adhere to, if not surpass, the requirements of the U.S. National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program.

To ensure swift implementation and progress, the venture will leverage both public and private funds, capitalizing on generational investments in public charging at the Federal and State level. This approach aims to expedite the installation of high-powered charging stations, bolstering the growth of electric mobility.

Charging network

The joint venture, aspiring to become the preeminent network of reliable high-powered charging stations in North America, is slated to be established this year, pending customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. The first stations are projected to debut in the United States during the summer of 2024, followed by a rollout in Canada at a later stage.

These stations will not only facilitate long-distance travel but also transform the entire EV experience, propelling the adoption of electric vehicles. Located in metropolitan areas and along major highways, including connecting corridors and popular vacation routes, the stations will cater to the diverse lifestyles and travel patterns of consumers.

The joint venture’s commitment to sustainability aligns with the collective vision of all seven automakers. Each charging site will exclusively rely on renewable energy, further contributing to a greener future.

Charging network

Moreover, the new high-powered charging network will provide a seamless and integrated charging experience, underpinned by renewable energy sources and backed by the unmatched expertise and resources of these leading automakers. Focused on customer comfort and convenience, the stations will be strategically located in easily accessible areas, offering canopies whenever possible, as well as amenities such as restrooms, food services, and retail operations in proximity. Flagship stations will even showcase additional premier amenities, offering a glimpse into the future of charging.

In terms of customer interaction, the network will seamlessly integrate with participating automakers’ in-vehicle and in-app experiences. This will include reservation services, intelligent route planning, payment applications, transparent energy management, and more. Leveraging Plug & Charge technology will further elevate the customer experience.

The establishment of this open network comes at a critical juncture, as the demand for fast and reliable public charging rises in tandem with the introduction and growing popularity of electric vehicles. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, as of July 2023, there are 32,000 publicly available DC fast chargers for 2.3 million electric vehicles in the United States, representing a ratio of 72 vehicles per charger. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that up to 182,000 DC fast chargers will be required to support the projected 30-42 million plug-in vehicles on the roads by 2030.

With U.S. electric vehicle sales anticipated to surpass 50% of total sales by 2030, the expansion of reliable charging infrastructure is pivotal to achieving widespread electric vehicle adoption. This robust and best-in-class charging network is precisely what the industry needs to support current and future EV sales, fueling the growth of electric mobility.

Finally, the founding partners of the joint venture shared their perspectives on this groundbreaking initiative. BMW Group CEO Oliver Zipse expressed pride in being one of the founders, emphasizing the importance of accessibility to high-speed charging in accelerating the transition to electromobility. GM CEO Mary Barra highlighted GM’s commitment to an all-electric future, focusing on delivering EVs that customers love while enhancing charging accessibility. Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe viewed the venture as a critical step towards achieving carbon neutrality and accelerating EV adoption in the U.S. and Canada. Hyundai CEO Jaehoon Chang emphasized the significance of sustainable transportation and how Hyundai’s expertise in electrification would redefine the charging landscape. Kia CEO Ho Sung Song stressed the role of the joint venture in accelerating EV adoption across North America, providing seamless charging experiences for customers and enhancing Kia’s presence in the EV market. Mercedes-Benz Group CEO Ola Källenius emphasized the fight against climate change and the network’s role in making charging as convenient as possible. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares highlighted the importance of a strong charging network available to all and praised the collective intelligence and customer-centric approach of the joint venture.

In summary, this ambitious joint venture signifies a crucial step towards revolutionizing electric vehicle charging in North America, fostering widespread EV adoption, and paving the way for a greener and sustainable future in the automotive industry.