7 major automakers team up to build North American EV charging network, separate from Elon’s network.

7 major automakers team up to build North American EV charging network, separate from Elon's network.

The Rise of High-Powered Charging Stations: A Game-Changer for Electric Vehicles


In a groundbreaking move, General Motors, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, and Stellantis have announced a collaboration to build a network of “high power” charging stations across North America. The aim is to alleviate concerns about long-distance travel for electric vehicle (EV) owners by ensuring that fast and reliable chargers are readily available. With a goal of at least 30,000 charging plugs in urban areas and along travel corridors by 2030, this initiative will significantly accelerate the adoption of EVs.

The automakers have expressed their commitment to creating the leading network of high-powered charging stations in North America. While the exact number of stations and financial details remain undisclosed, they have stated that the partnership will require a multibillion-dollar investment. However, the first charging stations are expected to be operational by next summer, showcasing the rapid progress of this ambitious project.

Currently, there are approximately 8,700 direct-current fast-charging stations in the U.S. and Canada, with nearly 36,000 plugs available. Despite this existing infrastructure, it is estimated that by 2030, approximately 182,000 fast chargers will be needed to meet the growing demand. Fast chargers are capable of delivering 80% battery capacity in just 20 minutes to an hour, making them ideal for travel corridors and comparable to the time it takes to fill a car with gasoline. In contrast, Level 2 chargers, which use 240-volt power, can take several hours for a full charge.

The newly planned network is expected to have between 10 to 20 charging plugs per station, resulting in a minimum of 1,500 stations and a maximum of about 3,000 stations. For comparison, Tesla’s network, currently the largest in North America, consists of 2,050 stations and over 22,000 plugs. The joint venture formed by the seven automakers aims to develop a public network open to all EV owners, accommodating both Tesla’s North American Charging Standard plugs and the Combined Charging System plugs used by other manufacturers.

Stephanie Brinley, an analyst with S&P Global Mobility, believes that this initiative will significantly boost electric vehicle sales by addressing a major concern among potential buyers. Many individuals have been deterred from considering EVs due to uncertainties surrounding the availability of charging infrastructure for long-distance travel. By establishing a reliable and expansive network, people will be more likely to embrace the EV lifestyle, thereby accelerating the transition to sustainable transportation.

To ensure a positive charging experience, the automakers have committed to utilizing renewable energy sources whenever possible. Additionally, the charging stations will be strategically located, conveniently equipped with amenities such as restrooms, food services, and nearby stores. Creating a comfortable and reliable charging environment is essential for earning the trust and confidence of potential EV buyers.

While the development of this network will undoubtedly be a significant undertaking, lasting for years and requiring substantial investments, the union between these automakers represents a necessary step forward. The existing charging network, built by various companies, suffers from issues such as unreliability and poor locations. To address these concerns, Ford, General Motors, and other manufacturers have previously partnered with Tesla to leverage its extensive charging network. However, such collaborations and individual network deployments have proven insufficient.

Contrary to concerns that this new joint venture may pose a threat to Tesla’s dominance, Brinley believes that the network is a collaboration born out of necessity and acknowledgment of the growing demand for charging infrastructure. With the increasing number of electric vehicles on the road, it is clear that Tesla alone cannot satisfy the charging needs of all EV owners.

To support the development of the network, the automakers plan to leverage U.S. government funds from the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure law. Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, emphasized the vital role played by a charging network at scale, ensuring the freedom of mobility for all individuals. Furthermore, the implementation of new environmental regulations, such as proposed greenhouse gas emissions standards by the Environmental Protection Agency, reinforces the urgency for automakers to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.

In the United States, electric vehicle sales continue to rise, accounting for over 7.2% of all new vehicle sales in the first half of the year. Analysts predict this growth trend will continue, with EVs reaching over 1 million sales for the first time this year. Projections from consulting firm LMC Automotive indicate that EVs could capture 14.4% of the market by 2025, rising to nearly 40% by 2030. Meeting these milestones will require widespread access to reliable charging infrastructure.

The collaboration between General Motors, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, and Stellantis marks a groundbreaking step towards the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. By establishing a comprehensive network of high-powered charging stations, these automakers are not only addressing the concerns of potential buyers but also creating a crucial foundation for a sustainable and electrified transportation future. Exciting times lie ahead as this joint venture seeks to revolutionize the charging landscape and accelerate the transition to a greener mobility ecosystem.