New Automotive Partnership Aims To Bolster Electric Vehicle Charging In America
Seven major automakers recently announced a joint venture to create a high-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging network with 30,000 chargers across North America. BMW Group, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz Group, and Stellantis NV are collaborating to make EV charging more convenient, accessible, and universally compatible. This currently unnamed network could rival Tesla Superchargers and take advantage of Biden administration EV charger subsidies.
The new charging network will be available to any battery electric vehicle of any automaker with Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) or Combined Charging System (CCS). The network will exclusively use renewable energy, which can help mitigate climate change. The first U.S. charging locations are expected to be online in the summer of 2024, with locations in Canada coming at a later date.
Charging Infrastructure In North America: Current State
This announcement about the new EV charging network could have significant implications for the EV charging landscape. There are currently more than three million EVs on the road and over 130,000 public chargers across the U.S., but many of these are not fast chargers and require hours.
To date, most EV charging demand has been met at home or perhaps at work and not by publicly accessible chargers, according to the International Energy Agency. Yet, EV drivers not living in single-family houses may be unable to charge at home. In addition, long-distance trips may be inconvenient when there aren’t fast chargers located en route.
Tesla’s Supercharger is the largest fast-charging network, with more than 45,000 in the U.S., but these units were historically only compatible with Tesla vehicles. Also, Superchargers are not located evenly throughout the U.S., and California has the most of any state.
The J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience Public Charging Study highlights dissatisfaction with public EV charging infrastructure among EV drivers.
"The declining customer satisfaction scores for public charging should be concerning to automakers and, more broadly, to public charging stakeholders," said Brent Gruber, executive director of the EV practice at J.D. Power. "The availability of public charging stations is still a critical obstacle, but it isn't the only one. EV owners continue to have issues with many aspects of public charging, as the cost and speed of charging and the availability of things to do while waiting for their vehicle to charge are the least satisfying aspects. At the same time, the reliability of public chargers continues to be a problem. The situation is stuck at a level where one of every five visits ends without charging, the majority of which are due to station outages."
What The New Alliance Could Mean For North American EVs And Charging Infrastructure
EV charger installations will increase due to the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program and the recent announcement about the joint venture among the seven automakers, which will help boost EV market demand. Widespread EV adoption relies on making public EV chargers widely available, especially in urban areas and along travel corridors.
Many potential EV drivers have range anxiety, which can be mitigated by convenient and rapid publicly available EV chargers. Therefore, introducing 30,000 charging stations throughout North America with NACS and CCS connectors could help boost EV sales, so it’s not surprising that automakers are taking action to resolve charging issues. However, another recent announcement could also shape the EV charging landscape in North America.
Ford, General Motors, Mercedes, Nissan, Rivian, and Volvo recently announced they will switch to Tesla’s NACS charging port and make Tesla Superchargers available to drivers starting next year. This will make Tesla’s robust charging network accessible to many more drivers, but the automakers haven’t announced details on the cost for non-Tesla vehicles.
Where Is The Funding Coming From For This Plan?
The new charging network will leverage both private and public funds, yet the automakers haven’t specified how much they would invest individually or collectively. However, they said they are open to additional investment and participation from companies outside the automotive industry.
The plan will capitalize on Biden administration subsidies aiming to have a national network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates $7.5 billion for EV charging, which focuses on making charging stations available along highways for long-distance trips.
New EV Charging Network Could Address Consumer Concerns
Although numerous automakers are investing billions to manufacture EVs and expand vehicle range, the charging infrastructure has lagged. The recent announcement by seven automakers will help address this issue by rolling out 300,000 EV chargers at convenient locations across North America. It also leverages collaboration, which will help spread the costs across companies.
Many of the charging stations will feature additional amenities, including restrooms, shops, and restaurants, making it comfortable and convenient for drivers to charge. The chargers will be compatible with vehicles with NACS and CCS connectors, helping overcome compatibility issues. This plan will help reduce range anxiety and boost EV adoption, transforming the clean energy landscape.