Hyundai and Kia Embrace Tesla’s North American Charging Standard
The electrified road ahead just got a little more unified. Two South Korean automotive giants, Hyundai and Kia, alongside luxury brand Genesis, have unveiled plans to incorporate Tesla’s charging ports into their electric vehicles (EVs) sold in the U.S.
This transformation, set to commence in the last quarter of 2024, aims to enhance the EV charging experience for drivers. Now, owners of these vehicles can effortlessly access Tesla chargers, a privilege previously exclusive to Tesla vehicle owners. The announcement, sourced from CNN, places Hyundai and Kia in the esteemed company of other automotive juggernauts like Ford, GM, and Mercedes-Benz.
While the three brands – Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis – operate within the umbrella of Hyundai Motor Group, they maintain distinct identities, especially in the U.S. market. Their collective choice to integrate Tesla’s charging infrastructure is noteworthy. As of 2023 data from Kelley Blue Book, the trio, when combined, stands as the second-largest EV seller in the U.S., only behind Tesla itself. During the first half of 2023, they sold an impressive 37,800 EVs, though Tesla still dominated with over 330,000 units.
Hyundai’s electric lineup in the U.S. boasts vehicles like the award-winning Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6. The Kona Electric, an all-electric offshoot of the popular Kona compact SUV, also graces their portfolio. On the other hand, Kia has marked its territory with the EV6, an engineering sibling to Hyundai’s Ioniq series, and the Niro EV, a counterpart to Hyundai’s Kona. Genesis, exuding luxury, offers electric variants of its G80 sedan and GV70 SUV, with the GV60 SUV as an electric-exclusive.
Tesla’s decision to open up its once-proprietary charging system emerged in late 2022. Elon Musk, Tesla’s iconic CEO, invited other automakers and charging entities to adopt Tesla’s design standards. Giants like Ford and GM were among the first to transition from the CCS fast-charging tech to Tesla’s. Several charging firms, including EVGo and Chargepoint, have declared plans to roll out chargers compatible with both CCS and Tesla’s NACS, eliminating the need for adapters.
This widespread adoption of Tesla’s charging standard bodes well for the EV titan. Analysts speculate that the increasing universal appeal of Tesla’s NACS could bolster its claim to federal funds, meant to buttress charging infrastructure. Now, the NACS isn’t just a Tesla-exclusive tool but a universal EV charging standard.
Industry insider, Sawyer Merritt, provided invaluable insights into the adoption trend. Alongside Kia, Genesis, Hyundai, GM, Ford, and others, many brands are embracing Tesla’s NACS. However, several legacy brands like Toyota, Volkswagen, and Stellantis are yet to make their move.
As the automotive realm charges forward, it’s apparent that companies like Kia and Hyundai are making strategic maneuvers. Their endorsement of a unified charging solution paints a promising, interconnected future for electric mobility.