All eyes on VW after Hyundai, Kia adopt Tesla charging standard

Hyundai and Kia have finally announced their plans to adopt Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) ports for their electric vehicles in the U.S. and Canada, joining the swells of automakers that have also promised to do so.

The move will give Hyundai and Kia drivers — as well as drivers of Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Rivian vehicles — access to thousands of Tesla Superchargers across the two countries and Mexico.

As NACS seems to outstrip the Combined Charging System (CCS) as the new charging standard, the question on the auto industry’s mind is when will Volkswagen ante up?

In June, VW’s EV charging subsidiary Electrify America said it would add the NACS connector to Electrify America and Electrify Canada’s fast charging networks by 2025. Many thought that day wouldn’t happen, given how much money VW had to shell out to build that CCS-based charging network in the first place. VW poured $2 billion into building out the Electrify America (EA) as part of a settlement of the VW diesel emissions scandal.

Like most other charging companies, EA said it would continue to provide CCS connectors throughout its network, as well. And Tesla will include CCS connectors at some of its U.S. charging stations to reap some of the rewards of the Biden administration’s IRA subsidies. Tesla’s Supercharger network accounts for about 60% of fast chargers in the U.S., according to the Department of Energy.

Volkswagen didn’t respond in time to TechCrunch’s request for comment, but the company has been in talks with Tesla to adopt the NACS charge port on future vehicles since summer 2023. VW is one of the largest automakers in the world, representing brands like Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Porsche and Lamborghini.

Over the next few years, under the VW brand, the automaker hopes to release a range of new EV models, including the 2024 ID.3, 2024 ID.7 and the 2025 ID.7 Wagon.

Most of the automakers that have signed up to build EVs equipped with NACS ports are aiming for 2025 models. Hyundai is aiming for even earlier.

The automaker said Thursday that new Hyundai EVs in the U.S. — like the Ioniq 5, Ioniq 6 and upcoming Ioniq 7 — will come with the NACS port starting in the fourth quarter of 2024. That will begin in Canada in the first half of 2025. Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury brand, will also jump on the NACS train.

Kia also said it would build the NACS port into new EVs sold in North America in the fourth quarter of 2024.

Both Hyundai and Kia said they expect to have adapters available at dealers in the first quarter of 2025, for customers who own vehicles with CCS ports.

Tesla’s NACS is quickly becoming the industry standard, in part due to Tesla’s already strong footprint of Superchargers at good locations along highways. EV drivers also say Tesla offers a more streamlined and simpler charging process.

In late June, SAE International, formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers, said it would develop an industry standard around NACS, which would assuage other companies wary of letting a competitor control a key part of the EV experience.

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