Mercedes-Benz has big plans for its own US charging network, and it aims to deliver a premium charging experience commensurate with the Mercedes brand. Mercedes-Benz HPC North America, a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and MN8 Energy (an energy provider that operates 900 renewable energy projects in 28 states), will “set a new standard for fast, convenient, clean and reliable EV charging.”
The companies plan to invest over $1 billion to deploy some 2,500 chargers at 400 charging hubs across North America by the end of the decade.
The JV recently inaugurated its first charging hub, at the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz USA in Sandy Springs, Georgia. The hub features 400 kW DC fast chargers with both CCS1 and NACS connectors, provided by ChargePoint. It uses renewable energy and the company says it will be carbon-neutral.
Mercedes HPC has clearly paid close attention to EV driver complaints about the lack of amenities at most existing public charging stations. The new charging hub features a lounge complete with couches, vending machines, refreshments and restrooms. A solar canopy provides weather cover for customers, overhead LED lighting for safety, and solar panels on top. A sign on a 15-foot pylon, visible from the street, indicates the status of the charging stall: in use, free or reserved.
The closest charging spot to the lounge is designed especially for handicap-accessible vehicles, and there’s also one uncovered, drive-through charging spot that’s designed for electric vans or EVs with trailers up to 26 feet in length.
Mercedes’s charging network is open to drivers of EVs from all brands, but there are a few exclusive benefits for Mercedes drivers, including automatic charger reservations enabled by the native navigation on Mercedes-EQ models, and the Plug & Charge feature for users of the Mercedes me Charge app.
“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,” said Franz Reiner, Chairman of the Board of Mercedes-Benz Mobility.
Mercedes recently announced agreements to locate charging hubs at Simon retail outlets located in areas of EV saturation (“where customers are”) and Buc-ee’s travel centers located along key travel corridors in the South (“where customers are going”).
The network will open hubs at Buc-ee’s travel centers in Texas, Florida, Alabama and Georgia by the end of 2023, and plans to open about 30 by the end of 2024. Charging hubs at Simon Mall locations are planned to launch in the first half of 2024.