Seven US automaker majors launch EV leadership bid

Seven US automaker majors launch EV leadership bid
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In a move to create “the leading network of high-powered charging stations in North America,” Honda, BMW, Mercedes-Benz Group, Hyundai, Kia, General Motors and Stellantis have announced an EV fast-charging joint venture.

The joint venture calls for at least 30,000 chargers to be installed in cities and along major highways in the US.

According to the partners in a press release announcing their partnership, the joint venture aims to become the leading network of high-powered charging stations in North America.

The network aims to provide reliable, high-powered charging capability and digital integration and will solely use renewable energy for its functions.

Each charging point along the network will have several DC chargers. Charging stations won’t be reserved for cars made by the seven companies as vehicles from all automakers will be allowed to use them.

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Specifically, eligible EVs will need to use either a Combined Charging System (CCS) or the North American Charging Standard (NACS).

The joint venture will leverage public funds, aiming to tap into those from the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as private funds to accelerate the installation.

Namely, the stations are expected to be in line with requirements for the US National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) programme, a grant programme that provides $5 billion in strategic funding to US states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia to develop a national EV charging network.

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Awaiting closing conditions and regulatory approvals, the joint venture will be established later this year, with the first stations scheduled to open in the summer of 2024. Canada is being eyed for charging locations at a later date.

Commenting on the agreement was BMW Group CEO Oliver Zipse, who said: “North America is one of the world’s most important car markets – with the potential to be a leader in electromobility.

“Accessibility to high-speed charging is one of the key enablers to accelerate this transition. Therefore, seven automakers are forming this joint venture with the goal of creating a positive charging experience for EV consumers. The BMW Group is proud to be among the founders.”

Said Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe: “The creation of EV charging services is an opportunity for automakers to produce excellent user experiences by providing complete, convenient and sustainable solutions for our customers.

“Toward that objective, this joint venture will be a critical step in accelerating EV adoption across the US and Canada and supporting our efforts to achieve carbon neutrality.”

According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), as of July 2023, there are 32,000 publicly available DC fast chargers in the United States for use by 2.3 million electric vehicles, a ratio of 72 vehicles per charger.

The joint venture is being called a competitive move against Tesla, which has long dominated the electromobility sector.

Tesla accounted for more than 60% of US EV sales last year and has the largest network of fast chargers with almost 18,000 superchargers.

In February this year, Tesla opened its EV charging network to other brands in its own bid to build a cross-country charging network.

A name for the joint venture and investment amounts have not yet been released.