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The Charging Network Started by 7 Automakers Has a Name

By
Laurance Yap
March 7, 2024
4
min
Last year, seven automakers pledged to start a new high-speed charging network that would deploy 30,000 fast chargers across North America. Now, the company has a name, Ionna, and is on track to open its first station.
View of Earth from space with seven major auto manufacturer logos being showcased
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Doubling the High-Speed Charging Network

In 2023, seven major automakers – BMW, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, and Stellantis (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Fiat) – announced that they would start their own high-speed charging network. With electric car sales growing rapidly, but concerns about public charging remaining an issue for potential buyers, the car manufacturers saw an opportunity not only to help make the transition to EV easier – but also make some money in the process.

Now, the charging network established by the seven automakers has a name: Ionna. The joint venture, which recently received approval from U.S. and Canadian regulatory authorities, has officially commenced operations, and plans to open its first charging stations in 2024 – with the goal of deploying over 30,000 high-speed EV chargers by 2030. In doing so, they would nearly double the number of available Level 3 chargers available to North American drivers.

Kia EV6 charging

Ionna Charging Stations: The Experience

With almost every brand selling vehicles in the U.S. having announced the adoption of the Tesla North American Charging Standard (NACS, otherwise known as SAE J3400) plug, it’s no surprise that the new Ionna charging stations will offer NACS charge ports as standard, along with the Combined Charging System (CCS) plugs that are currently found on most non-Tesla chargers and vehicles. Offering both types of plugs should make charging easier and more convenient for EV drivers from all brands, including Tesla.

Ionna also promises that its charging stations will offer an elevated customer experience, and will provide amenities such as restrooms, food service, and retail, to give drivers options while they wait for their vehicles to charge. The company says that customers can expect locations to have canopies that provide shade and protection from the elements while they explore service and retail operations within the charging stations, or nearby.

Digital Integration for Convenience

Importantly, no matter what brand of EV you drive, Ionna says its network will have seamless integrations with the in-vehicle systems of its partner automakers – making it easy to plot a route to the nearest charger, reserve a charging port, pre-condition the battery, and pay for a charge.

One of the pain points of the current public charging experience is the huge number of networks and apps available – few of which seem to talk to each other, and all of which have different options for payment. Ionna’s integration with multiple manufacturers and the sheer number of stations it will deploy, should significantly improve convenience: by the time it has 30,000 charge ports deployed, its network will be double the size of Tesla’s Supercharger network.

Powered by Renewable Energy

Ionna says that its charging stations will be powered by renewable energy, making EV driving even cleaner. Each site will feature multiple high-powered chargers to facilitate long-distance journeys – and they’ll also help their partner automakers reach their sustainability goals.

The first Ionna chargers will open in the U.S. later this year, with an expansion into Canada at a later date.

Front view of a Tesla Model 3 driving through canyon roads

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