The largest manufacturer-sanctioned charging network in the U.S. by far is Tesla's Superchargers. There are currently more than 1,400 Supercharger stations in the United States, with 7,000 more individual plug-ins, and Tesla has been building them for the past decade.
Mercedes will be partnering with ChargePoint, an existing manufacturer of EV charging solutions. These include public chargers and home charging kits. ChargePoint has installed and operated more than 30,000 accessible charging stations and had partnered with Mercedes in the past, as well as with other brands like Lexus, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.
"Charge point is what actually got my attention," Fernandes says, "because they do bring a level of expertise and know-how to the project. Having ChargePoint involved in the process is almost certainly going to help." But automakers like Mercedes are still playing catch-up.
Fernandes says he thinks Mercedes' aggressive plan is necessary but optimistic. He also says adding this many new EV chargers could result in a significant load on the power grid.
"Especially because they're going for a fast-charging type system," he says. "And right now, there are a lot of big loads trying to connect to the [electrical] grids in North America. They're going to have to be studied. There could be upgrades [on the electrical grids] required, and it's really those study timelines that are going to take some time."
But there's still the question of whether the grid can even handle this many new EVs at all. A study by researchers at Stanford University published in the journal Nature in September 2022 says the huge influx of EVs will help reduce emissions in the United States, but their demand for charging may challenge electricity grid operations. By 2035, the study found, EV growth could increase electricity demand by as much as 25 percent.