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Highway 66 in the USA: Woe betide you, the battery runs out here

Photo: Cavan Images / IMAGO

Seven major automakers have joined forces to build a fast-charging network for electric cars in North America. The German carmakers Mercedes-Benz and BMW want to set up a joint venture with General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia and Stellantis, the companies announced.

With their plans, the companies probably not only want to stand up to the electric car manufacturer Tesla, which has long since operated its own network of "Supercharger" stations: The Volkswagen Group also wants to build its own charging infrastructure in the USA.

By 2030, the aim is to have at least 30,000 charging points, a Mercedes spokeswoman said when asked. The first charging stations should open in the summer of 2024 in the USA and later also in Canada.

The joint venture is to be founded this year, according to the statement. A Mercedes spokeswoman did not provide concrete information on the organizational structure and the amount of investment. Suffice it to say that the parties intended to work together on an equal footing. Further details will be announced at the end of the year.

Each location will be equipped with several fast-charging points. Most stations should include 10 to 20 fast charging points, the spokeswoman said. Initially, the plan is to use charging stations in metropolitan areas and along major highways, according to the statement.

North America is one of the world's most important automotive markets, with the potential to play a leading role in electric mobility, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse said, according to the statement. The availability of fast-charging stations is one of the key prerequisites for accelerating this transformation. "Charging the battery plays a decisive role in electric driving," said Mercedes CEO Ola Källenius. With the network, the company is taking a further step towards making this process as uncomplicated as possible for customers.