Volkswagen EVs Will Use Tesla Superchargers by 2025

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Volkswagen EVs Will Use Tesla Superchargers by 2025

Volkswagen EV owners eyeing Ford’s access to Tesla’s Supercharger network will need to exercise patience a bit longer. According to a Volkswagen spokesperson who spoke with InsideEVs, the brand plans to release a Tesla North American Charging Standard (NACS) adapter for its electric vehicles, including models like the ID.4 and Porsche Taycan, by 2025 “at the latest.” This adapter will open up access to Tesla’s extensive Supercharger network. Meanwhile, Ford and Rivian owners are already benefiting from Supercharger access as of this month, raising questions about the delay in Volkswagen’s rollout.

[Update 3/5/24, 11:10 am EST: Initially, InsideEVs was informed by a Volkswagen spokesperson that the group would release an adapter compatible with both AC and DC charging for its electric vehicles. However, the spokesperson later corrected this statement, indicating that, after receiving new details from Germany, Volkswagen is actually developing an adapter for DC charging only, similar to the one used by Ford vehicles. The article has been revised to accurately include this updated information. We apologize for the confusion.]

[Update 3/5/24, 6:22 pm EST: A clarification was provided by a Porsche spokesperson to InsideEVs regarding the Porsche Taycan’s compatibility with the Tesla North American Charging Standard (NACS). Contrary to earlier reports, the Taycan will not be the first Volkswagen Group vehicle to adopt NACS support. Moreover, the current generation of the Taycan, which has recently undergone a refresh, is not expected to be equipped with a factory-installed NACS port.]

Volkswagen’s entry into the agreement with Tesla to use its charging network came later in 2023, which is a key reason for their delayed rollout compared to other automakers like Ford, who was the first to secure such a deal and consequently the first to distribute adapters.

For ease of use, Volkswagen plans to provide an adapter that is compatible only with direct current (DC) fast charging, mirroring Ford’s approach. The existing Combined Charging Standard (CCS) for electric vehicles distinguishes between alternating current (AC) slow charging and DC fast charging through different pin configurations. Slow charging utilizes the top rounded port, while fast charging engages additional pins below it.

Upon connecting a charger, the vehicle automatically identifies whether it’s AC or DC. AC power requires conversion via the car’s onboard charger to be usable, whereas DC power feeds directly into the battery. Since batteries operate on direct voltage and NACS plugs accommodate both AC slow and DC fast charging, Volkswagen engineers are tasked with ensuring that vehicles can safely manage incorrect AC plug-ins into the DC-specific adapter. The aim is to prevent charging under such mismatches while safeguarding the battery and routing power appropriately without causing harm.

With the deadline for manufacturers to adapt to Tesla’s Supercharger network fast approaching, the pressure is mounting. According to Gillies, Volkswagen still has several aspects to fine-tune, including the specifics of how VW owners will interact with the Supercharger network. Questions remain about the necessity for separate apps for charging, the feasibility of plug-and-charge functionality, and the integration of Supercharger locations into the vehicles’ onboard navigation systems.

However, there’s promising news on the horizon. The issue of compatibility between AC and DC charging is expected to be a temporary challenge. Starting from 2026, Volkswagen Group plans to incorporate NACS support directly into every new or significantly updated EV model. This built-in capability will allow the cars to seamlessly manage the charging process internally, streamlining the transition for drivers and ensuring smoother access to Tesla’s Supercharger network.

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