Volkswagen Considers Adopting Tesla’s Charging Standards Amid Growing EV Competition—Here Are The Others

Topline

German auto giant Volkswagen is mulling a partnership with Tesla to open its drivers to the electric vehicle maker’s supercharger network, as a growing list of automakers adopt Tesla’s charging standard as EV competition surges.

Key Facts

Volkswagen board member Michael Steiner said the automaker would “welcome access to additional charging infrastructure” in North America using charging ports that fit Tesla’s chargers, The Verge reported, though details about a potential partnership between Tesla and the maker of Audi, Bentley Bugatti and Porsche have not been released.

Swedish automaker Polestar also agreed to equip its EVs with charging ports that match the ones used in Tesla vehicles, called the North American Charging Standard (NACS), starting in 2025, while drivers will be able to access the chargers next year by using an adapter.

Polestar’s announcement gives drivers access to Tesla’s so-called supercharger network in the U.S. and Canada. It comes just over a week after Rivian, an Irvine, California-based electric truck and SUV manufacturer, announced drivers will be able to use Tesla’s roughly 12,000 charging stations in the U.S. and Canada starting next spring.

 

Volvo, which owns a minority stake in Polestar and whose stated goal is to produce a fully electric fleet by 2030, announced a similar agreement with Tesla earlier this week, giving XC40 or C40 Recharge EV owners access to Tesla charging stations through the use of an adapter starting in the first half of 2024—future Volvo owner with a NACS charger will still be able to use a standard Combined Charging System (CCS) charging station with an adapter.

Tesla also opened its charging network to Ford and GM earlier this month, while Toyota revealed plans last week for a new generation of EVs as it looks to stay competitive.

Polestar’s stock jumped nearly 4% on Thursday to 70 cents, rebounding from a seven-month low earlier this month.

News Peg

Under Rivian’s agreement with Tesla, Rivian R1T and R1S owners will be able to use an adapter to fit Tesla charging stations, while Rivian’s charging ports in its future R1 and R2 vehicles will be compatible with Tesla’s chargers starting in 2025. The agreement is expected to dramatically expand Rivian’s charging network—a limiting factor for EV owners driving long distances.

Big Number

3,500. That’s how many fast chargers Rivian is working to install at 600 North American sites in its so-called Rivian Adventure Network, providing drivers with 140 miles in roughly 20 minutes. Rivian also plans to have over 10,000 high-power level-two chargers around the U.S. and Canada.

Tangent

Rivian’s agreement comes less than a week after Toyota—which led the hybrid craze with its Prius but was slow to embrace EVs—announced its next generation, sending its stock to an 11-month high. Tesla owner and the world’s richest man Elon Musk has in recent weeks also opened the EV giant’s charging network to Ford and GM. Tesla’s stocks continue to climb, reaching a nine-month high this week after taking a nose-dive late last year. General Motors CEO Mary Barra said the agreement will “double access” the automaker’s EV charging, which is set to begin early next year.

Key Background

Rivian launched in 2009—first as Mainstream Motors, before rebranding as Avera Automotive and then Rivian—as an alternative to gasoline-powered pick-up trucks and vans. Full-scale production of its electric trucks began in 2020, with the first one sold in September 2021, though the company has since struggled with financial woes as it looked to compete with bigger EV makers and as automotive giants like Ford and Tesla continue to lower EV prices. In February, Rivian cut 6% of its staff, according to an internal message obtained by Reuters, after it slashed another 5% of its approximately 14,000 employees late last year. Rivian is also reconsidering an agreement to exclusively provide electric vans to Amazon, the Wall Street Journal reported in March after Amazon reportedly ordered fewer vans than expected after agreeing to a massive plan in 2020 to buy 100,000 of its EVs for its delivery fleet.

Further Reading

Tesla Will Add General Motors To Charging Network—Nearly Two Weeks After Giving Ford Access To EV Charging Stations (Forbes)

Toyota Stock Soars To 11-Month High As Automaker Unveils Next- Generation Of Electric Vehicles (Forbes)

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