If you're a Volkswagen EV owner and you're enviously looking at how Ford drivers can access Tesla's Supercharger network, you have a little longer to wait. The Volkswagen Group will have a Tesla North American Charging Standard (NACS) adapter available for its EVs in 2025 "at the latest", a VW spokesperson told InsideEVs. That means you'll finally be able to charge your ID.4 or Porsche Taycan at a Supercharger. But with Ford and Rivian already enabling Supercharger access this month, we had to ask what was taking so long.

[Correction 3/5/24, 11:10 am EST: A VW spokesperson originally told InsideEVs that the group will ship a charging adapter that works with AC and DC charging. He later clarified that, in light of new information received from Germany, the company is actually working on a DC-only charging adapter, like Fords'. The story has been updated to reflect this information. We regret the error.]

[Correction 3/5/24, 6:22 pm EST: A Porsche spokesperson informed InsideEVs that the Porsche Taycan will not be the first vehicle to get NACS support. In fact, the spokesperson confirmed that the current Taycan has already been refreshed and is not likely to get the NACS port from the factory in this generation.] 

The first hurdle is obvious. Volkswagen announced its deal with Tesla late in 2023, after many other brands had already committed. Ford was the first to announce a deal, and it's no surprise that it's the first company to ship adapters.

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The Great NACS Migration

Almost all EVs on sale use the Combined Charging Standard (CCS) connector. The biggest exception is Tesla, which uses the North American Charging Standard (NACS) and operates its own fast-charging Supercharger network. Ford and Rivian owners are getting access to Superchargers this month via NACS adapters, with most automakers set to follow shortly after. By 2026, new models from most major brands will come from the factory with NACS ports. 

For simplicity, VW, like Ford, will ship an adapter that only works with direct current (DC) fast charging. The existing Combined Charging Standard (CCS) chargers use separate pin configurations for alternating current (AC) slow charging and DC fast charging. A slow charger uses the top rounded hole, whereas a fast charger uses that port in addition to two extra pins below it.

As soon as you plug a connector in, the car knows whether it's dealing with AC or DC. AC has to be converted by the car's onboard charger, while DC can go directly to the battery.  Batteries only work with direct voltage, and NACS plugs are the same for AC slow charging or DC fast charging. Gillies says VW engineers just have to ensure that the cars can safely handle a customer mistakenly plugging an AC charger into their DC-only adapter that plugs into the DC port of their car. Ideally the car just won't charge, but engineers have to make sure the power is routed safely away and that it doesn't have negative effects on the battery. 

Regardless, the time crunch is on, as most manufacturers have to have their adapters ready by the end of 2025. Gillies suggested that there's still work to do there, and that it was too early to answer specifics about whether VW owners would need separate apps to charge at a Supercharger, whether plug-and-charge would work, and whether its vehicles on-board route planners will support Superchargers in the future. 

The good news is that the AC/DC compatability problem won't last long. Starting in 2026, every refreshed or redesigned VW Group EV will get NACS support from the factory, so the car will be able to handle the switch internally.

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