Carmakers seek to allay consumers’ fears of EV charging station shortage with a major expansion.

Dan Carney, Senior Editor

July 27, 2023

3 Min Read
EV parking
Designated electric vehicle charging station sign in a parking lot in Fairfield, California.Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Imagea

A coalition of seven carmakers, BMW, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, and Chrysler parent Stellantis have announced a joint effort to create a new EV charging network with 30,000 charge points covering urban locations and rural highways.

This would nearly double the size of today’s U.S. EV charging system, which the U.S. Department of Energy says includes 32,000 publicly available DC fast chargers. That compares to 2.3 million EVs on the road currently.

By 2030, the government expects EVs to garner half of all new car sales, with between 30 and 42 million plug-in vehicles on the road. This will require a network of 182,000 DC fast chargers, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The network will support both the SAE’s Combined Charging System (CCS) and Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) connectors, with the first stations opening in the summer of 2024.

“The more chargers the better,” said Cox Automotive executive analyst Michelle Krebs. “An inadequate EV charging infrastructure is an obstacle to EV adoption. Price remains the biggest obstacle, but the infrastructure is also one.”

The companies say these new chargers will employ renewable energy exclusively, they will be in appealing locations, they will have on-site amenities for drivers, and they’ll operate in the digital networks EV drivers use to keep their vehicles connected and their electricity paid for.

This means canopies providing weather protection over the chargers, and available restrooms, just like drivers have at today’s gas stations but which are absent from most EV charging stations. They also aim to have food service and retail (read: convenience stores) in the same complex. “Flagship” locations will include additional unnamed amenities that promise to “showcase the future of charging.”

The digital integration will give drivers integration with their automakers’ in-vehicle and in-app experiences, such as reservations, intelligent route planning and navigation, payment applications, and transparent energy management. Plug & Charge technology will provide simplified payments.

Additionally, the network will be reliable, says the group, addressing a key problem with existing charging networks.

“Kia's engagement and investment in this high-powered charging joint venture is set to increase charging access and convenience to current and future drivers and therefore accelerate the transition to EVs across North America,” said Kia Motors CEO Ho Sung Song. “Kia is proud to be an important part of this joint venture with other reputable automakers as we embark on a journey towards seamless charging experiences for our customers and further strengthening Kia’s brand identity in the EV market.”

“We believe that a charging network at scale is vital to protecting freedom of mobility for all, especially as we work to achieve our ambitious carbon neutrality plan,” remarked Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares. “A strong charging network should be available for all - under the same conditions - and be built together with a win-win spirit.”

The gang of seven backers for this network have not yet announced a name, as their lawyers are surely searching for trademarkable names that have not already been claimed by banking conglomerates, the prescription drugs advertised on cable television news channels, or Stellantis.

About the Author(s)

Dan Carney

Senior Editor, Design News

Dan’s coverage of the auto industry over three decades has taken him to the racetracks, automotive engineering centers, vehicle simulators, wind tunnels, and crash-test labs of the world.

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