Auto Company Joint Venture to Build EV Charging Network With Convenience-Store Amenities

Ionna targets 30,000 chargers along major highways
Photograph courtesy of Ionna

Ionna, a joint venture of seven automakers, has received approval from regulatory authorities to build an electric-vehicle (EV) charging network across North America, providing additional convenience-store-like amenities such as restrooms, foodservice and retail operations nearby or within the same complex.

The company, a joint venture of BMW, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis, targets to deploy at least 30,000 chargers.

Customers can expect convenient locations that will come with canopies wherever possible to even further focus on unprecedented customer comfort and charging ease, the Torrance, California-based company said. Initial plans call for the deployment of charging stations in metropolitan areas and along major highways, including connecting corridors and vacation routes, aiming to offer a charging station wherever people may choose to live, work and travel, according to the company.

The joint venture anticipates opening its first charging stations in the United States in 2024, with plans for expansion into Canada at a later stage.

Each site will feature multiple high-powered chargers to facilitate long-distance journeys, aligning with the sustainability strategies of all seven automakers. Ionna will leverage public and private funds to accelerate the installation.

The new charging stations will be accessible to all battery-powered electric vehicles from any automaker using Combined Charging System or North American Charging Standard (NACS).

Ionna’s charging stations are intended to be powered by renewable energy and backed by the combined quality, reliability and resources of the automakers.

The network's functions and services will facilitate integration with participating automakers' in-vehicle and in-app experiences, encompassing reservations, intelligent route planning and navigation, payment applications, transparent energy management and additional features.

Seth Cutler was recently appointed CEO of Ionna. He was most recently president and chief operations officer at EV Connect. He was also previously senior vice president of technical operations at the company. Before joining EV Connect, Cutler took the lead in engineering, orchestrating the development and implementation of a high-powered charging network as chief engineer in the early phase of Electrify America. He started his career at General Electric (GE), where his roles included that of general manager of EV infrastructure. In this capacity, he focused on the development, manufacturing and deployment of charging stations, contributing to GE's footprint in the electric mobility sector.

“The creation of EV charging services is an opportunity for automakers to produce excellent user experiences by providing complete, convenient and sustainable solutions for our customers,” said Toshihiro Mibe, CEO of Honda. “Toward that objective, this joint venture will be a critical step in accelerating EV adoption across the U.S. and Canada and supporting our efforts to achieve carbon neutrality.”

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