Mercedes-Benz High Power Charging (HPC) today announced an agreement with electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) provider Alpitronic to deploy 400 kilowatt DC fast chargers in the U.S. This would be in addition to the 400 kW ChargePoint hardware the brand has been using for its charger roll out since last November.

Aplitronic is an Italian EVSE company now expanding in the U.S. and the rest of Europe. The chargers will be made at a facility in Wisconsin and will get both NACS and CCS compatibility. The charging unit itself is Alpitronic’s flagship model called HYC 400, which it claims retains an efficiency of 97.5%.

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Mercedes-Benz wants to redefine that charging experience.

The automaker wants to establish a network appropriate for its audience of luxury EVs like the EQE and EQS. That includes deploying chargers at malls and premium convenience stores and not in deserted places next to piles of trash. It's already successfully rolling out fast chargers in the Southeast and has now diversified its hardware partners.

Efficiency in this context is related to losses that occur during high-voltage electricity transmission, right from when the current flows from the charger via the cables to the EV’s battery pack. (Losses also occur when electricity moves through the grid.)

InsideEVs' testing of Tesla Model 3 charging at an Electrify America plug revealed losses of about 10% while charging from 7% to 57% SoC. Car and Driver’s test, also involving a Model 3 showed efficiency up to 99% and consistent efficiency of above 90% after using multiple chargers. For the lack of independent testing data, I’d take the claim of 97.5% efficiency with a grain of salt, at least for now.

Mercedes-Benz Charging Hub at the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz USA in Sandy Springs, Georgia

Mercedes-Benz Charging Hub at the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz USA in Sandy Springs, Georgia

That said, Mercedes-Benz HPC wants to establish an appropriate charging network for the owners of its luxury EVs. Right from the get-go, the company has taken a different approach: It is building out chargers at premium locations in collaboration with mall giant Simon Malls and convenience store chain Buc-ee's. InsideEVs visited one of these premium charging hubs last December and found that it ticks both boxes of reliability and luxury. 

Mercedes-Benz HPC said the new partnership is one way to localize its supply chain and is part of its $1 billion investment in establishing a charging network in North America. The first units will start rolling out in Q3 2024.

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