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“Mercedes” seeks to compete with “Tesla” with a huge network for charging electric cars

 “Mercedes” seeks to compete with “Tesla” with a huge network for charging  electric cars

The German company plans to build a global network of 10,000 high-speed chargers.

Mercedes plans to build a global network of 10,000 high-speed chargers for electric cars, as part of efforts by traditional carmakers to compete with Tesla, the leader in electric cars.

Mercedes is expected to start building the first stations this year in North America, to later expand to Europe and China, the company said Thursday. The capacity of the stations to provide electric power to cars may reach about 350 kilowatts, enough for the car to travel an additional 20 miles per minute. Tesla has more than 40,000 superchargers, and its V3 stations usually provide up to 250 kW.

“Our customers deserve a compelling charging experience that facilitates the process of owning an electric car and traveling long distances,” said Ola Kallenius, CEO of Mercedes, adding: “We cannot watch what happens and wait for these stations to be built without moving.”

This high demand for building stations is closely related to Mercedes' endeavor to spend more than 40 billion euros ($42.5 billion) to electrify its cars and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the end of this decade by half compared to 2018 levels. The German company may benefit from the support provided in The United States, where the Biden administration has announced $7.5 billion to add 500,000 car chargers in the country, and countries in Europe are pushing for such infrastructure to help shift away from internal combustion engines.

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Mercedes is likely to build this network in partnership with a number of partners, including solar energy company MN8 Energy Inc. The stations will be distributed near major cities and highways. The investment in the US could be just over 1 billion euros over the next six to seven years, according to Mercedes, with the carmaker and MN8 sharing the cost between themselves. By the end of that period, at the latest, the automaker expects the operation to be profitable.

Mercedes is shifting its focus towards producing high-margin cars to help pay for its transition to electric vehicles, as the company plans to reduce its production of entry-level cars and focus its investment on producing premium models such as the flagship S-Class. And the G-Class luxury sports car.

In this context, Mercedes indicated that the development of its freight network will support the luxury-first strategy. While drivers of competing cars will be able to take advantage of the chargers, Mercedes customers will have priority to use them, to avoid waiting.