The center is located at the automaker’s U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, meaning most of the early adopters will likely be Mercedes employees. But the company says owners of non-Mercedes electric vehicles can also use the chargers.
The charging station is the first of a proposed 2,000 centers that Mercedes plans to install around the world as part of a billion-dollar multi-year plan. But the company is not bearing the entire cost itself; 50 percent will be covered by MN8 Energy, a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs Asset Management focused on solar energy and energy storage.
The new center in Atlanta looks remarkably similar to initial renderings: eight stalls with two outlets each; a brightly lit canopy to provide protection from the elements with lights powered by a solar panel; a stall for wheelchair accessible vehicles and another uncovered by the canopy for access by taller commercial vehicles; and a 15-foot-tall sign, visible from the street, indicating when charging stations are free or in use. The lounge appears well lit, clean and comfortable, with plenty of soft drinks and drinks available from the vending machines.
The new center in Atlanta looks remarkably similar to initial renderings.
The technology underpinning the new center also sounds impressive. According to ChargePoint, the system includes new features such as the ability to charge two electric vehicles from one station at “very high speeds.” Mercedes says each plug can charge up to 400 kW, but ChargePoint notes that the hubs are rated for speeds of “up to 500 kW,” which is faster than any current electric vehicle is capable of charging.
Charging centers will be open to all electric vehicles, but people who own Mercedes electric vehicles will have the option to reserve certain stations. Reservations can be made through the infotainment systems of Mercedes electric vehicles. And the charging center features “Plug and Charge” capabilities, a new technology standard that allows for a much easier way to charge your car.
Traditional automakers have been reluctant to follow in Tesla’s footsteps by paying the huge costs associated with building their own charging network, leaving most public chargers in the US to third-party companies. And while some of those third-party chargers work well, many of them don’t, leaving most Americans with an impression of the state of public charging that is less than favorable (to say the least).
But as EV sales have increased, automakers now see that they need to invest in charging to make EV adoption truly inevitable. Volvo is paying to install chargers at Starbucks locations across the United States. GM is building its network at Pilot Flying J truck stops. And seven automakers (BMW, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis) recently launched a joint venture to build a vehicle charging network independent electrical.