BMW Brilliance and Mercedes-Benz will set up a 50:50 shareholding joint venture to operate a supercharging network in China.

(BMW will work with Mercedes-Benz to build and operate a supercharging network in China. Image credit: BMW)

BMW will work with Mercedes-Benz to build a charging network in China, a rare collaboration between the two German luxury carmakers.

BMW Brilliance, BMW's joint venture in China, and Mercedes-Benz have signed a cooperation agreement to set up a 50:50 shareholding joint venture in China, according to a press release today.

The joint venture plans to build at least 1,000 supercharging stations in China by the end of 2026, providing about 7,000 supercharging piles, BMW said.

The first charging stations are scheduled to start operating in key new energy vehicle (NEV) cities in China from 2024, with subsequent charging station construction to cover more cities and regions.

Notably, the joint venture's charging network will be open to the public, although BMW and Mercedes-Benz customers will be able to have a better experience.

BMW and Mercedes-Benz customers will be able to enjoy exclusive premium services such as seamless digital charging experience including plug-and-charge and online booking, according to the press release.

The formation and operation of the joint venture is subject to regulatory approval, BMW noted.

BMW is responding actively to the rapid electrification transition in China's automotive market, and by the end of October 2023, there were 600 authorized BMW dealerships equipped with charging facilities, including BMW AC charging wall boxes and DC chargers.

BMW's charging network accesses more than 580,000 third-party charging piles in China, including 320,000 DC fast-charging piles, covering more than 320 cities, the company said.

BMW launched a supercharging station program in August, with charging piles supporting up to 600 kW of charging power. The supercharger network is also open to all brands of electric vehicles (EVs).

The BMW supercharger network currently covers nine cities and is expected to reach 50 stations by the end of this year, it said.

As of October, China had a total of 2.525 million public charging piles, including 1.09 million DC charging piles and 1.435 million AC charging piles, according to the China Automotive Battery Innovation Alliance (CABIA).

(NYSE: NIO) and (NASDAQ: TSLA) are among the automakers with the most charging facilities in China.

To date, Nio has 2,187 battery swap stations in China, 2,009 supercharging stations with 9,407 charging posts, and 1,464 destination charging stations with 10,976 chargers.

Tesla has more than 1,800 Supercharger stations in China, providing more than 11,000 Superchargers.

Nio, whose charging network has been open to all brands of EVs for the past several years, is also opening its battery swap network to other carmakers, with Changan Automobile and Geely Holding among the first to join.

Tesla, whose charging network was previously exclusive to its owners, opened its China charging network to other brands of EVs on April 24 on a pilot basis.

On November 28, Tesla announced that more of its chargers in China were open to other brands of EVs. To date, Tesla's charging facilities in China that have been opened up to other brands include more than 350 Supercharger stations, and more than 260 destination charging stations.

Charging app created by Nio surpasses 4 million registered users