As expected, more carmakers continue to join in partnership with Tesla on Tesla Supercharger access for their cars. After Ford broke open the dam, GM, Rivian, and various charging networks have followed in partnering with Tesla on this. The latest news is that Volvo Cars is partnering with Tesla, too.
Right at the beginning of its announcement, Volvo Cars reiterates its plan to sell 100% electric cars — only fully electric cars — by 2030. The company determined that in order to do so, Volvo Cars needed to offer buyers the best charging experience possible, and that means partnering with Tesla and giving Volvo buyers Tesla Supercharger (aka North American Charging Standard) access. (Funny how it just determined this after Ford, GM, and Rivian came to the same conclusion.)
In the case of Volvo Cars, new vehicles will include the North American Charging Standard (NACS) charging port starting in 2025. No need for an adapter — just plug in and charger at a Tesla Supercharger near you. Before then, though, Volvo Cars electric car buyers will get a Tesla charging adapter starting in the first half of 2024.
One funny thing about this recent trend is that it comes long after we spent years pushing for it. Several years ago, Tesla invited other automakers to partner with it on Supercharging. We pushed for automakers to take Tesla up on the offer and accelerate EV adoption for their buyers, and EV charging convenience and reliability for them. We even wrote an open letter to Carlos Ghosn and got various prominent signatories on it — since we assumed he’d be the one most likely to accept Tesla’s invitation. After a while, though, we gave up on the idea. It seemed that no automaker would join Tesla on this; CCS fast-charging stations started rolling out in much higher volume, creating good networks of chargers; and we accepted that there’d be the Tesla network and there’d be the CCS network for everyone else. Even though consumers clearly wanted (and needed) access to Tesla Supercharging, pride and hubris won … we thought. Then Jim Farley’s kids and road-tripping in a Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck made him realize that Ford EV buyers really needed access to Tesla Superchargers to have a good road-tripping experience. And the rest is history.
Another funny thing here is that, whereas Tesla drivers have had the best charging options for years, non-Tesla electric vehicles with built-in Tesla Supercharger (NACS) ports or complimentary Tesla charging adapters will have better EV fast charging options than Tesla drivers! Unless Tesla drivers buy adapters to use CCS chargers, they will lack access to those other fast chargers while Ford, GM, Rivian, and Volvo drivers (and whoever joins next) will have access to both Tesla Superchargers and CCS fast chargers, giving them superior charging access. I’m curious to see if that affects EV buying trends in the US. (Though, better access or not, if other automakers don’t produce a lot more EVs, there aren’t a lot more non-Tesla EVs to sell to interested buyers.)
Back to Volvo Cars, this is how the company explains this advantage:
“The arrangement gives fully electric Volvo drivers access to 12,000 new fast-charge points, a figure that is expected to grow as Tesla continues to expand its Supercharger network in the region.
“These new charging points come in addition to Volvo drivers’ existing access to tens of thousands of fast-charge points.”
In short, 22,000+ (12,000+ plus 10,000+) is greater than 12,000+. So, if you care a lot about fast charging, Volvo Cars gets the edge here over Tesla.
Note that the new Volvo cars coming with the Tesla Supercharging port will not have a separate CCS port. Instead, they will receive a complimentary CCS adapter. I’m not sure what the full rationale for that is, but my guess is that Volvo Cars recognizes the Tesla Supercharger network as being superior and figures that the default charging port should be the superior one. (Perhaps it’s also more cost efficient this way? Or perhaps it’s more of a marketing decision? But I would put those possibilities as less likely, or complementary, to the main issue of the Tesla Supercharging network clearly being the more reliable, more convenient, more useful fast-charging network for most EV drivers.)
“As part of our journey to becoming fully electric by 2030, we want to make life with an electric car as easy as possible,” said Jim Rowan, CEO at Volvo Cars. “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.”
Kudos to Volvo. Better late than never.
Volvo electric cars include the XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge. The EX30 and EX90 are coming soon, too. Volvo EV drivers will be able to find Superchargers using their Volvo Cars app, and presumably also via the in-car navigation system (but that hasn’t been explicitly stated yet).
All images courtesy of Volvo Cars.
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