The joint venture is expected to build a network of at least 1,000 high-power charging stations. (PHOTO / VCG)
Multinational automotive companies BMW and Mercedes said on Thursday that they will team up to build a charging network in China, the largest market for both, as they speed up moves to shift toward electrification.
BMW Brilliance Automotive and Mercedes-Benz Group China will establish a 50-50 joint venture to run the network, with the first charging stations planned to begin operations in 2024, according to their agreement.
The joint venture is expected to build a network of at least 1,000 high-power charging stations with around 7,000 high-power charging piles by the end of 2026.
The two German carmakers said the charging network will be open to the broader public as well, while BMW and Mercedes car owners will have access to a series of features such as plug and charge, and online reservation.
The joint venture will procure electricity generated from renewable sources, wherever possible, they said.
The latest effort comes as new energy vehicles become a serious choice for car buyers in China, which has the world's largest charging network.
Deliveries of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in the country reached 7.28 million units from January to October this year, accounting for 30.4 percent of total new car sales in the period, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
There were 2.53 million public charging piles in the country by the end of October, with over 60,000 built in the same month, said the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance.
Major EV makers ranging from Volkswagen to Tesla are building their own charging networks to dispel mileage anxiety and help accelerate an industry-wide transition from gasoline vehicles to NEVs.
Earlier this week, Tesla said it will further open its charging network in China to non-Tesla electric vehicles after it started the initiative in April this year.
The US-based EV maker said its network of over 600 charging stations is now open to the public, available in all municipalities, provinces and autonomous regions on the Chinese mainland.
Traditional oil giants, such as China National Petroleum Corp, China Petrochemical Corp and China National Offshore Oil Corp, have also entered the sector to compete for a share of this lucrative market.
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