BEIJING: BMW AG and Mercedes-Benz Group AG will cooperate on a fast-charging network for EVs in China with a plan to open at least 1,000 stations by 2026, a move that will still leave the two luxury-car makers trailing Tesla Inc.
First sites will open next year in regions with a high EV uptake through a joint venture between the Chinese subsidiaries of both the German carmakers, BMW said Thursday. The move is catching up to Tesla’s more than 1,600 existing charging locations in China.
BMW and Mercedes, which already work with others on the Ionity fast-charging rollout in Europe, plan to open up its chargers in China, will be open to a broad range of EV brands. Some services like online reservations will be exclusive to its customers.
China is leading the global transition to electric cars, pushed by the swift rollout of an infrastructure that now counts 715,000 ultra-fast connectors according to data compiled by BloombergNEF, almost 12 times the number of high-speed chargers available in Europe.
Although the government has extended tax breaks to lift sales of EVs, some Chinese manufacturers like Nio Inc are doubling down to reduce costs and jobs as they continue to post losses which are exacerbated by a price war instigated by Tesla a year ago.