These 7 Automakers Are Jointly Launching a Charging Network


  • BMW, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, and Stellantis officially launch charging network dubbed Ionna, with plans for at least 30,000 chargers to be built in the US.
  • Seth Cutler, who has held positions at EV Connect, Electrify America, and General Electric, will be the CEO of the new company.
  • The charging network will offer CCS and NACS charging connectors, with Stellantis being the latest participating automaker to announce a switch to NACS ports and cables.

By now we’ve seen plenty of charging stations tucked away in odd corners of half-dead shopping mall parking lots, each a par four walk from a grocery store or a Cheesecake Factory and, if not broken, delivering the blazing fast speeds of your uncle’s house with wiring from the 1920s.

This charging experience barely cut it in 2014, let alone 2024.

A new charging network formed by seven major automakers wants to deliver a very different charging experience, and it has just received the green light from regulators to begin operations.

First announced last summer, the network has been formed by BMW, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, and Stellantis, and it plans to built at least 30,000 chargers in the US alone, the company says, with plans down to the road to include Canada.

How does Ionna promise to deliver what it promises as a best-in-class charging experience?

“This will be realized by providing various amenities, such as restrooms, food service, and retail operations nearby or within the same complex, digital integration and appealing locations,” the company says.

Moreover, Ionna promises canopies above the charging stalls, wherever possible, as well as the option of making reservations prior to charging sessions. The network also promises integration with the participating automakers’ in-app and in-vehicle systems when it comes to route planning, navigation, and payment—all issues that have not been easy to solve in the past.

What the company does not explicitly promise are convenience stores with staff. So just how these charging stations will look on the outside is still a bit of a mystery.

When it comes to charging itself, Ionna stations will offer CCS and NACS ports, the latter of which has now been adopted by several participant automakers with Stellantis being the latest one, announcing the move days ago.

the track club

The first of the stations is slated to open later this year, but so far the company hasn’t detailed its plans for conquering the US, or which cities will see its stations first.

Seth Cutler, with stints at EV Connect, Electrify America, and General Electric, will lead the company as CEO.

“Most recently serving as the President and Chief Operations Officer, he started several initiatives to transform the company from a ‘start-up’ to a ‘scale-up’ phase,” the company said of his time at EV Connect.

Ionna will need scaling up itself in the coming months and years with a difficult task ahead of it, and not just because it will have to contend with the software of several different automakers and an even greater number of individual brands.

The reason we’re seeing a company like this being formed now, as opposed to 10 years ago, is of course the lack of EVs from these automakers until relatively recently. Automakers haven’t felt a need to build something like this until EV market share approached 8% to 10%. Tesla, on the other hand, with nothing but EVs in its lineup, had a solid reason for building out its Supercharger network early.

Speaking of automakers, the current roster has a few notable absences as you may have noticed: Toyota/Lexus, Ford, and Volvo/Polestar.

“Our shared commitment to creating an extensive, high-powered charging network reflects our dedication to revolutionizing the entire EV charging experience and helping to drive widespread EV adoption,” said Cutler.

Is the lack of appealing charging stations a major drawback to EV adoption, or are other factors like EV price and range still more important? Let us know what you think.

Headshot of Jay Ramey

Jay Ramey grew up around very strange European cars, and instead of seeking out something reliable and comfortable for his own personal use he has been drawn to the more adventurous side of the dependability spectrum. Despite being followed around by French cars for the past decade, he has somehow been able to avoid Citroën ownership, judging them too commonplace, and is currently looking at cars from the former Czechoslovakia. Jay has been with Autoweek since 2013. 


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