VW Group joins Tesla charging system
Electrify America owner waves white flag on CCS
German OEM VW, the parent company of automakers Audi, Porsche, Scout Motors and the eponymous Volkswagen marque, has announced it will adopt the Tesla charging protocol, becoming one of the last major US makers of cars to turn to the Elon Musk-led firm's charging solutions.
Tesla's North American Charging Standard (NACS), which this week was certified by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International as the new industry standard for US charging, has been becoming the effective benchmark for public charging in North America since the firm opened up its supercharger network for EVs from other OEMs to use last November.
Now only Franco-Italian conglomerate Stellantis and Japan’s Toyota are left among volume makers of US EVs in not having announcef they are throwing in with NACS.
"Welcome Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and Scout Motors owners to Superchargers across North America," Tesla said on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter,
VW had already added NACS connectors to its own Electrify America CCS charger network in June, but is now "exploring adapter solutions for existing vehicles to access the Tesla Supercharger network, starting in 2025".
This follows in the footsteps of South Korean OEM Hyundai Group, US players GM, Ford, Rivian and Fisker, Sweden’s Volvo and Polestar, Japan’s Nissan and Honda and Germany’s Mercedes and BMW, who have all said they will initially provide NACS adapters before beginning to manufacture their EVs with a NACS port from 2025.
While not specifically confirming that it will equip its post-2025 EVs with NACS portals, VW Group confirmed some kind of "planned implementation of the North American Charging Standard (NACS) for future products in the North American region, beginning in 2025".
While the industry is coalescing around the Tesla charging system, VW has been one of the primary proponents of rival charging technology the Combined Charging System (CCS), with which VW's proprietary Electrify America (EA) network was initially launched. EA has been hampered by widespread reliability issues throughout 2023, and if the network's addition of NACS connectors cannot spur utilisation demand and with it greater reliability, prospects look bleak.
"Electrify America has already announced it will work to offer the NACS connector at charging stations by 2025 in North America, as well as continuing to support CCS," VW says.
"This is great news for our electric vehicle customers in the North American region,” says Pablo Di Si, CEO of VW Group of America. “This potentially provides them with access to more than 15,000 additional charging points as well as the current near-4,000 DC fast charging outlets operated by Electrify America."
Tesla's rival OEMs may not be altogether happy with its monopoly over the North American charging, but their hands were forced by the reliability issues faced by CCS. VW's tardiness to the NACS party may be a result of its desire to make EA a viable competitor for NACS. Now, however, it appears that the business case for joining Tesla is clear since its technology has proven to provide reliable enough charging to faciliate wider EV adoption across the industry.
“We strive to provide an exceptional and seamless customer experience, and when it comes to charging, greater choice is a key factor in delivering this,” says Timo Resch, CEO of Porsche North America, becoming the latest auto executive to spin their company's Tesla collaboration as a question of 'consumer choice'. Now, though, with interoperability between NACS and CCS the norm for consumers, the choice is an easy one.