Convenience store and gas station giant Buc-ee’s announces partnership with Mercedes-Benz to build a network of high-speed electric chargers for Mercedes brand electric vehicles. Together, they plan to build charging stations at Buc-ee’s travel centers along major transit corridors in the South and Southeast, including I-75 and I-95. According to the announcement, about thirty hubs should be operational by the end of 2024, however, Mercedes does plan to build charging hubs at most of Buc-ee’s locations in the coming years.
This partnership was announced shortly after Buc-ee’s announced the addition of electric charging stations at every location in Texas. Buc-ee’s already offers charging stations that can charge Tesla, Chevrolet, Audi, and BMW electric vehicles, which can charge in just 20-40 minutes. Buc-ee’s boasts forty-six locations, across seven states and thirty-nine cities, so eventually, they could offer an extremely extensive charging network for EV owners.
In January, Mercedes revealed that they were getting into the EV infrastructure game with plans to build out more than 400 charging hubs by 2027 under the Mercedes-Benz HPC North America Banner. Mercedes previously partnered with ChargePoint, which provides EV charging solutions as well as MN8 Energy, a solar and battery storage company. This means that the luxury vehicle company can provide entirely renewable energy for their customers to charge up with.
Mercedes isn’t the only one trying to build expansive charging networks, either. Six other automakers including BMW, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Stellantis, along with Mercedes-Benz are creating a joint venture to significantly expand the number of fast-charging car sites across America and Canada. The sites will follow the new requirements set forth by the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure. (NEVI) These guidelines require a 97% uptime by the EV service provider to receive funding, thus improving reliability. The sites will support both CCS1 and NCAS plugs. The chargers also support the plug and charge protocol.
However, between the CCS1 and NCAS plugs, there is no word on which ones will be attached to the Mercedes-Benz chargers. Their partners at ChargePoint provide NACS support. However, Mercedes was one of the first automakers to ditch CCS1 for NACS, as many automakers did so they could use Tesla superchargers by 2024.
Unlike some of their competitors, Mercedes plugs are universal, meaning they can be successfully used on any model of EV, not just their vehicles. This universal charging offers some peace of mind to EV owners.
“Mercedes-Benz HPC North America’s collaboration with Buc-ee’s represents an important moment in our pursuit of a national charging network that sets a new standard in both convenience and quality,” said Andrew Cornelia, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz HPC.
With North America being one of the most important car markets, with the potential to be a leader in electromobility, the seven automakers participating in this joint venture create a positive charging experience for EV owners. Accessibility to high-speed charging is key to accelerating this transition according to BMW Group CEO Oliver Zipse.
“The fight against climate change is the greatest challenge of our time,” said Mercedes-Benz Group CEO Ola Källenius. “What we need now is speed—across political, social, and corporate boundaries. To accelerate the shift to electric vehicles, we’re in favor of anything that makes life easier for our customers. Charging is an inseparable part of the EV experience, and this network will be another step to make it as convenient as possible.”