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Tesla chalks up more wins: Volvo signs up, VW starts talks

Tesla's charging standard has attracted carmakers such as Ford, GM and Volvo. Now, Volkswagen Group is in talks to deploy NACS connectors on its North American models. Image: Tesla

Volkswagen has confirmed the group is in talks with Tesla to adopt the latter's charging port, making it the first German carmaker to discuss the possibility.

"Volkswagen Group and its brands are currently evaluating the implementation of the Tesla North American Charging Standard (NACS) for its North American customers," the company said, indicating the decision would cover not just Volkswagen cars, but also other marquees in the group's stable, such as Audi, Skoda, Bentley and Porsche.

Tesla's charging port, the North American Charging Standard (NACS), has been attracting carmakers and charging companies over the past month and could well become the standard for the region. US conventional carmakers Ford and General Motors, electric vehicle company Rivan and charging infrastructure companies such as Blink Charging and ChargePoint have all agreed to either switch to the NACS plug in future models, or offer adapters for the port at their existing charging stations.

Just before Volkswagen's announcement, the group's US charging network Electrify America agreed to use NACS as well. Volkswagen's switch to NACS is crucial: the group is among the prime backers of a rival design, called the Combined Charging System (CCS), along with Hyundai Motor.

Earlier this week, Swedish carmakers Volvo and Polestar announced their switch to NACS from CCS for North American models, becoming the first European carmakers to make the switch.

Volvo CEO Jim Rowan said of the agreement: "As part of our journey to becoming fully electric by 2030, we want to make life with an electric car as easy as possible. One major inhibitor to more people making the shift to electric driving – a key step in making transportation more sustainable – is access to easy and convenient charging infrastructure. Today, with this agreement, we're taking a major step to remove this threshold for Volvo drivers in the United States, Canada and Mexico."

If Volkswagen does make the switch to NACS for its North American models, the only major holdouts would be its German rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz. So far, carmakers from Asia – such as Toyota and Hyundai – are the only ones to have held off from NACS. 

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