Volvos Can Use Tesla Superchargers
Volvo will be the first European car manufacturer to adopt Tesla’s charging standard, the company announced last week. Starting in early 2024, electric Volvo cars and SUVs will be shipped with an adapter that lets them connect to Tesla Superchargers across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
The new arrangement with Tesla gives electric Volvo drivers access to 12,000 additional fast-charge points – in addition to the tens of thousands of non-Tesla fast-chargers they can already plug into. Both numbers are set to grow significantly in the next few years, as charging infrastructure is rapidly improving.
Drivers of the Volvo XC40 and C40 Recharge, as well as the recently-announced EX90 SUV and EX30 electric crossovers, will be able to connect to Tesla superchargers with an adapter in the first half of 2024. The move comes on the heels of similar announcements from Ford, General Motors, and Rivian.
Easy EV Charging and Payment
The Tesla superchargers will also be integrated into the Volvo Cars app, which already lists tens of thousands of chargers equipped with the existing CCS-standard charging ports. The app provides real-time information on the availability of charging ports, and also allows drivers to pay for their charging sessions through a single interface and a single bill – making charging and payment easy.
“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, Volvo’s CEO. “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.”
North American EV Charging Standard
Why the sudden rush to adopt Tesla’s charging standard in the U.S.? It comes down to two things: the Supercharger network’s reputation for reliability, and the simplicity of the charging port itself.
As EV adoption has increased, and more mainstream buyers purchase electric cars, the reliability of public charging stations has become a sore point for many drivers. A recent survey from J.D. Power suggests that as many as one in five public charging sessions fails due to poorly-maintained equipment or technical issues. Tesla’s Superchargers, owned and maintained by the company, have a reputation for reliability and consistent uptime, as well as for fast charging speeds.
Second, the Tesla charging port – also known as the North American Charging Standard (NACS) port, is a physically simpler plug that works for both Level 2 AC charging and Level 3 DC fast charging. The larger Combined Charging System (CCS) port currently used on many other EVs uses one plug for Level 2 charging with a secondary plug for Level 3 charging – the CCS standard currently allows for faster charging speeds up to 350 kW and can also integrate 800-volt architecture, but the NACS standard will soon be able to accommodate both, with a smaller and simpler plug.
Volvo says that future electric vehicles, starting in 2025, will be equipped with the NACS port in the North American region. Until then, new Volvo EVs will be shipped with an adapter that lets them easily connect to an NACS plug; after that date, they’ll ship with a different adapter that lets Volvo EVs continue to access CCS chargers.