Introducing the Mercedes-Benz Charging Network: The Future of Electric Vehicle Ownership

When your Rolex or Louboutins need servicing, you’d never trust a corner shoe-shiner. So why settle for an ordinary charging network for your premium EV? Take the time to find a specialty service center that can give it the care it deserves.

Mercedes-Benz is hoping to pamper their wealthy customers with a personalized charging network for their luxury EVs at CES 2023 in Las Vegas. The company announced that all models will be electric by 2030, allowing for an environmentally conscious yet luxurious driving experience.

Mn8 Energy and a $1 billion investment will result in over 400 charging sites across North America, eventually expanding to 2,000 globally with 10,000 chargers.

Tesla’s current Supercharger network is four times larger than what is being proposed, a charging program that has taken 10 years to establish.

TechGround chatted with Magnus Östberg (CSO) and Markus Schäfer (CTO) to learn why Mercedes is taking the plunge into EV charging, and how they plan on doing it.

Schäfer estimated the final cost of building the network to be “a couple billion dollars,” based on their initial investment (he noted you can “do the math”).

“At CES 2023, he said it’s definitely worthwhile investing in an EV – offering a unique experience that truly embodies the Mercedes spirit, especially when traveling during the holidays.”

Schäfer stated that the company is willing to make a significant outlay in order to dominate the EV market.

He said the cost of transforming the company was in the tens of billions, but dealing with raw materials, cell-making, and charging wasn’t their top priority.

Mercedes has partnered with Rock Tech Lithium and others for raw material supply, committing to build eight battery manufacturing plants worldwide.

Mercedes is now developing a charging network, unsatisfied with existing options.

Schäfer expressed his disappointment that energy companies running gas stations hadn’t taken care of the issue, despite the expectation.

Building an EV charging network requires billions in capital, but the location and maintenance of these chargers are equally important for its success.

Chief Software Officer Östberg and CTO Schäfer both noted that dealers will have their say, yet customer density and usage patterns will be the deciding factors in choosing locations.

Schäfer affirmed that their preferences in traveling will be the deciding factor for finding the ideal location.

This network won’t be designed to fill gaps in charging networks; rather, it’ll be a premium choice offered in densely populated areas that are already well-served by Electrify America, Tesla’s Supercharger Network and others.

Östberg stated that each spot chosen to feature a ‘luxury Mercedes experience’ will be carefully selected, avoiding any “scary locations.”

Mercedes prioritizes locations near good food, with plenty of light and surveillance systems. They will invest to ensure each location meets their standards, either buying or leasing land as needed.

Chargers with up to 350kW of power will charge EVs quickly, and Mercedes-Benz is taking steps to maximize charger uptime for seamless EV road trips.

ChargePoint will provide the chargers and their monitoring software, while Mercedes and Mn8 ensure spare parts are nearby with technicians available to install them. However, this raises concerns; when chargers malfunction it’s usually due to software issues. A 2022 survey of 657 Bay Area chargers found 22.7% were non-functional from system failures like unresponsive screens, whereas only 0.9% had hardware faults like broken connectors.

Mercedes-Benz owners will enjoy a unique luxury with these chargers – the ability to reserve a spot. MBUX navigation already directs drivers to nearby charging stops and prepares the battery for charging, but when selecting one of Mercedes’ own chargers, car owners can secure their space in advance.

“The integrated Mercedes navigation experience will automatically update your reservation if you’re stuck in traffic, so that you don’t miss out,” Schäfer said. This feature is exclusive to the Mercedes system and helps keep customers within their ecosystem.

Schäfer is adamant that the $1 billion investment to launch this network will eventually be a self-sustaining, profitable endeavor: “It has to be. Absolutely.”

Schäfer believes the enterprise will be profitable, citing Ionity as a successful example.

He noted the network’s skyrocketing value and expressed confidence they could replicate the success.

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Zara Khan

Zara Khan is a seasoned investigative journalist with a focus on social justice issues. She has won numerous awards for her groundbreaking reporting and has a reputation for fearlessly exposing wrongdoing.

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