Porsche said it will start building out its own proprietary global network of charging stations next year, a departure from its initial strategy to rely on partnerships with other companies.
The plan, which was revealed during the company’s annual meeting, comes as Porsche prepares to expand its EV portfolio beyond the Taycan to at least two more models, the Macan and 718, by 2025.
The first Porsche-branded charging locations will be built in high-demand areas beginning next year in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, company executives said.
However, Porsche’s vision extends beyond mere charging ports, according to CEO Oliver Blume and Lutz Meschke, deputy chairman and member of the executive board, who provided some details in a press briefing. The charging stations will also have amenities akin to a lounge, where customers might sip coffee or work while their batteries recharge.
“It’s not just about charging, it’s also to get more convenience in the direction of our customers,” Meschke said. “And that’s very important for us that we not only focus on the electrification of our cars, but also about the customer journey beyond the car.”
Porsche will focus on the European market and is considering expanding to China and the U.S., “where we can offer a special service and support the public charging infrastructure,” said Blume.
Porsche will also continue its partnership with Ionity, a multi-automaker venture supporting Europe’s largest fast charging network that plans to grow from 400 stations to 1,000 by 2025.
“We are jointly investing in premium charging stations alongside partners and in our own charging infrastructure,” Blume said.
Blume said it was too soon to provide figures on the number of stations Porsche plans to build, a timeline for their arrival, or their cost. However, his comments did suggest the company was eager to invest in the project.
As the global EV market readies itself for takeoff, “it’s very important over the next years to have a quick ramp up for this, and therefore Porsche is investing heavily,” he added.
Porsche’s efforts follow the lead of Tesla, which built out its own propriety global network of some 30,000 Supercharger stations at more than 2,500 sites. Tesla has recently started to open that network to other EVs in The Netherlands and several other European countries. Rivian also is building out its own “adventure” network, but uses the CCS direct current connector, an open international standard that in recent years has gained popularity in Europe and North America. This means that theoretically other electric vehicles with the CCS standard could use the Rivian network, although software could block their use. Rivian plans to add 3,500 fast chargers to more than 600 sites across the US and Canada by the end of next year.
Porsche will continue to support the Ionity partnership and tout the benefits of the Electrify America network of 670 charging stations across 46 states and Washington DC. But a proprietary network gives Porsche direct control over the customer experience and quality of the charging stations. The strategy is to fill in gaps along the existing fast-charging infrastructure, according to a company spokesperson.
Audi, also owned by Volkswagen, has begun piloting a two-story lounge-like concept in Europe where customers can relax as their cars charge below.