BMW and Mercedes have been at each other’s throats for decades, but both companies are wise enough to put their rivalry aside and work together when it makes sense. BMW Brilliance Automotive and Mercedes-Benz Group China, the regional divisions of the German luxury brands in the People’s Republic, are making a surprise announcement. The two are officially joining forces to create a 50:50 joint venture in China to build a fast-charging EV network in the following years.

The main objective is to build at least 1,000 charging stations with approximately 7,000 high-power charging piles by late 2026. The first will be operational as early as next year in parts of China where purely electric vehicles are popular. As to where the energy will come from, BMW and Mercedes are trying to obtain electricity from renewable sources wherever possible.

This high-end charging network is going to be accessible to everyone but those with cars featuring the roundel or the three-pointed star will take advantage of some exclusive perks. Details about these advantages are scarce for now but BMW and Mercedes plan to implement plug & charge functionality and support for online reservations.

We don’t have to tell you how important the Chinese market is for BMW regarding electric vehicles. The iX3 is exclusively built there and shipped all over the world. In addition, the i3 Sedan, a long-wheelbase 3 Series EV, is also manufactured there but only for the local market since it’s not exported. Earlier this year, the premium marque introduced stretched versions of the iX1 and i5.

It goes without saying EVs on the Neue Klasse platform will also be built in China. In fact, the recently inaugurated Designworks Shanghai Studio is already working on NK-based models tailored to local tastes.

As a reminder, BMW upped its stake in the joint venture with Brilliance to 75 percent in early 2022. The two produce additional models we don’t get in Europe or the United States, including a long-wheelbase X5.

Source: BMW