In a surprising turn of events, Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis vehicles were recently captured in a photoshoot scenario at a Tesla Supercharger station. This unexpected rendezvous has ignited speculation about the possibility of these Korean automakers making a significant move towards adopting Tesla's NACS charging connector, a development that could reshape the electric vehicle (EV) charging landscape.
The NACS (North American Charging Standard) connector has been gaining traction in the automotive industry since Ford's groundbreaking announcement in May to embrace this technology. Subsequently, General Motors and a host of other manufacturers followed suit, signaling a collective shift towards the NACS connector.
However, Hyundai and Kia, known for their intricate corporate relationship, have yet to make a similar commitment. Hyundai holds a substantial stake in Kia, and the two share many commonalities in their vehicle offerings, particularly in the realm of electric vehicles. Models like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and EV6, along with the Ioniq 7 and EV9, are all built on the shared E-GMP platform renowned for its fast-charging capabilities.
The E-GMP platform boasts impressive efficiency, rapid charging speeds, and a broad charging curve, possibly ranking it among the fastest-charging platforms available today. Yet, it employs the SAE CCS (Combined Charging System) standard, which some argue doesn't match the overall user experience provided by Tesla's Supercharger network, primarily due to the superior quality and convenience of Tesla's charging locations.
The recent sighting of Hyundai/Kia vehicles at a Tesla Supercharger station raises intriguing questions about the automakers' intentions. Could they be considering a transition to a more user-friendly, widely accessible, and high-speed charging network?
Signs point to the fact that they may indeed be contemplating such a move. The presence of unreleased Hyundai/Kia models, including the eagerly anticipated Kia EV9, participating in a photoshoot at a Tesla Supercharger station strongly suggests the automakers' involvement. Although we can't confirm the presence of manufacturer license plates on these vehicles, it's reasonable to assume that these cars are owned by the companies themselves.
Reddit user u/Baayta, who shared the photos of the event, noted that the vehicles had devices in their charging ports to simulate charging for the photoshoot. Additionally, photographers at the scene reportedly confirmed their affiliation with Hyundai, further fueling speculation. Hyundai's proximity, with its U.S. headquarters located in Fountain Valley, California, adds weight to these observations.
Hyundai Kia and Genesis cars doing photo shoot at San Clemente Outlet Supercharger this morning. They casually placed the charger in the port pretending to charge. Announcement to joint NACS soon?
The burning question remains: why would Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis vehicles be photographed at a Tesla Supercharger if they are currently unable to charge there? The most logical inference is that a significant announcement could be on the horizon, quite possibly involving a collective shift towards the NACS charging standard.
The exact form of this transition remains uncertain. Some automakers have indicated plans to start by offering adapters in the coming year, gradually introducing the connector into their vehicles by the 2025 model year.
In pursuit of clarity on this intriguing development, we reached out to Hyundai and Kia for comment. Hyundai's response, “we are always evaluating available technology solutions that could improve the customer experience, but don't have anything to announce at this time,” suggests that the automakers are indeed exploring avenues to enhance the EV charging experience for their customers.
What do you think ???? pic.twitter.com/IX591N9Mxb
— The EV Guy (@The_EVGuy) September 29, 2023
As speculation continues to swirl, the automotive industry eagerly anticipates an official announcement that could reshape the charging landscape for Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis EVs. The world watches with bated breath to see if these Korean automakers will make the leap to the NACS connector, joining the growing ranks of manufacturers embracing this innovative charging standard.