Porsche is planning to build out a network of fast-charging electric vehicle stations across the U.S. alongside upcoming electric car models.
The automaker said there will be at least 500 fast-charging stations by the end of 2019, spread out at dealerships and locations near highways. As stated above, the timing is meant to line up with the launch of Porsche’s Mission E electric vehicle in 2019, as well as the rollout of its crossover EV the following year.
“If you want to buy that car, you want to know what happens if I go skiing and go further than 300 miles,” Klaus Zellmar, Porsche Cars North America’s chief executive, told Automotive News. “What do I do? So we need to have answers for that.”
Independent dealerships will be able to decide whether to charge users to use the fast-charging stations at their locations. The stations along highway routes or at other non-dealership locations will always require payment, Automotive News reported.
The plan echoes moves made by other electric vehicle companies. Tesla has its own network of fast charging stations, which it calls Superchargers. The Elon Musk-headed firm began building the network in 2012 and has completed over 1,045 locations by December of last year.
It’s unclear whether Porsche will implement a pricing scale similar to the Supercharger network or will use another payment system — though Zellmar added that Porsche is “pretty certain” that it won’t be free.
“It’s too early to talk about how exactly that payment process for customers will work,” Zellmar said. “There are various opportunities. You could buy a package all included for the car. It could be a membership card that you use. We’re not quite there yet.”
As TechCrunch points out, charging at a Tesla station varies by location. In California costs about 0.26 cents per kWh. Users in Michigan are charged about 0.24 cents per minute above 60 kW and 0.12 cents per minute if below that threshold.
It’s worth noting that Porsche isn’t planning on covering the cost for its U.S.-based dealerships to install these stations. It’s up to those dealerships to decide whether they want to pay to install them.
While Porsche is only the latest automaker to follow in Tesla’s footsteps, it’s likely that other manufacturers will build their own networks once EVs become more mainstream and widespread.