Challenging Tesla, major automakers are launching

Challenging Tesla, major automakers are launching

Elon Musk

While several automakers have signed on to Tesla’s (TSLA) Supercharger network, it seems many of them are still looking to blaze another path.

Seven multinational automakers — BMW (BMWYY), GM (GM), Honda, (HMC), Hyundai (HYMTF), Kia, Mercedes-Benz Group (MBGAF), and Stellantis (STLA) — announced on Wednesday that they will form a new charging network that they say will “significantly expand access to high-powered charging” in North America.

The joint venture, unnamed at this point, intends to install at least 30,000 “high-powered” charge plugs across North America, with the first stations set to open in the summer of 2024. The Wall Street Journal reports that the automaker’s collectively intend to spend at least $1 billion to fund the joint venture.

Most interestingly, the group says the new network will allow any battery-powered electric vehicles from any automaker, as long as the vehicle uses the Combined Charging System (CCS) or Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS). It is unclear yet whether the charging stations will natively support Tesla’s NACS standard or require the use of an adapter.

Two of the automakers — GM and Mercedes — currently have partnership deals with Tesla to incorporate the NACS plug in their North American vehicles in 2025, and to have access to the Supercharger network next year. Hyundai and sister brand Kia have been rumored to be discussing a similar deal with Tesla.

In a statement to Yahoo Finance, GM said the new joint venture will not affect its partnership with Tesla.

“GM is committed to investing in an EV ecosystem that ensures widespread access to charging for EV drivers,” a GM spokesperson said. “By working with companies across the industry to accelerate the deployment of charging infrastructure, we can continue to expand access across residential, workplace, and public charging. This announcement won’t change GM’s existing commitments or collaborations, but is in addition to those initiatives.”

A Mercedes spokesperson told Yahoo Finance, “Today’s announcement will not affect EV charging plans previously announced by Mercedes-Benz.” Mercedes also intends to build its own bespoke network of chargers with 3,000 high-power DC chargers coming to North America.

Unlike traditional charging station destinations operated by networks like ChargePoint, EVgo, or Electrify America, the automakers say their network will include multiple high-power DC chargers at each location, offer amenities like food service and restrooms, and be powered solely by renewable energy. Initial stations will be located near major metropolitan areas, and later along highways and travel corridors.

The joint venture is expected to be established later this year, with the deal closing subject to regulatory approval, the automakers said.

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