German carmakers expanding electric car charging network in China

MUNICH: German carmakers Mercedes-Benz and BMW are working together to set up and operate a joint fast-charging network for electric cars in China.

The first stations are to be opened next year. In three years, at least 1,000 stations with 7,000 charging points will be in operation, the car manufacturers announced today.

The charging network of the BMW and Mercedes-Benz joint venture between will be available to all vehicle brands.

However, customers of the company's own brands will be able to reserve charging points in advance and pay for them more easily.

Gemeinsam für ein erstklassiges Elektromobilitätserlebnis: Mercedes- Benz und BMW gründen Joint Venture zum Aufbau eines gemeinsamen Schnellladenetzes in ChinaJointly pushing forward premium e-mobility experience: Mercedes-Benz and BMW to establish a

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.

The country is the most important single market for BMW and Mercedes, which are trying to defend sales against local manufacturers.

Although BMW’s deliveries in China declined in the third quarter, the company sees itself unaffected by an EV price war there. Mercedes in October warned about "brutal” price competition and reported a drop in third-quarter margins.

Both automakers also are still bracing for the possibility that trade terms with China could worsen after the European Commission started a probe into Beijing’s support for its EV industry.

While China has extended tax breaks to lift sales of EVs, some homegrown manufacturers like Nio Inc. are doubling down to reduce costs and jobs as they continue to post losses. — dpa/Reuters
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