The debate over the type of charging plug used by electric vehicles (EVs) in North America has largely come to an end, with only a few car companies still holding out. However, these companies may want to reconsider their stance as more and more automakers join the Tesla fold.
On Tuesday, BMW announced its decision to adopt the North American Charging Standard (NACS) for its battery electric vehicles in the U.S. and Canada, starting in 2025. NACS, created by Tesla, essentially utilizes the Tesla plug. This move comes as BMW aims to provide its drivers with convenient access to reliable and fast charging.
According to BMW North America CEO Sebastian Mackensen, “With six fully electric BMW, MINI, and Rolls-Royce models now available in the U.S. market, and more to come, it is our top priority to ensure that our drivers have easy access to reliable, fast charging.” He further adds, “This agreement is the latest in our longstanding and continued effort to expand charging options for our customers as we continue on the road to electrification.”
BMW has seen significant success in the U.S. and abroad with its EVs. In the third quarter of 2023, the German automaker delivered a total of 621,699 vehicles, marking a 6% increase compared to the same period last year. Notably, all-battery electric vehicles (BEVs) accounted for 93,931 of these deliveries, reflecting an impressive 80% growth in just one year. BEVs now make up more than 15% of BMW’s total sales, a notable increase from the previous year’s figure of less than 9%.
Out of these BEVs, approximately 14% (13,000 vehicles) were sold in the U.S., while Tesla dominated the American market with nearly 157,000 BEVs sold in the third quarter.
As the competition in the EV industry intensifies, it becomes increasingly important for car companies to align their charging standards with widely adopted norms. By embracing NACS, BMW is taking a significant step towards providing its customers with seamless charging experiences and contributing to the overall advancement of electric mobility.
Electric Vehicle Charging Plug Trends
As the electric vehicle (EV) market continues to grow, major automakers are making decisions about the type of charging plug they will utilize. Companies such as BMW, Ford Motor, General Motors, Polestar Automotive, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai Motor, Kia, Honda Motor, Nissan, and Rivian Automotive have all opted to use the NACS plug, joining a growing list of EV manufacturers adopting this standard.
However, some notable players have chosen not to adopt the NACS plug. Toyota Motor, Stellantis, and Volkswagen remain steadfast in their decision not to switch. Smaller companies like Lucid and Mazda have also refrained from announcing any plug updates.
No Immediate Response
When reached for comment about their charging plug plans, the aforementioned five automakers did not immediately respond. It is interesting to note their silence on this matter.
The CCS Plug
Currently, other EVs in North America use a different plug known as CCS (Combined Charging System). While this plug is an alternative, it is important to highlight that adapters can be used to access different charging systems. Tesla drivers, for example, can use CCS stations, and soon other EV owners will be able to use Tesla’s dedicated stations. However, having a standardized plug across the industry offers simplicity and cost-effectiveness. Additionally, for Tesla, it is a revenue stream due to its ownership of the charging stations.
Following the news about the adoption of the NACS plug, Tesla’s stock experienced a decline of 1.9% in early trading on Wednesday. Comparatively, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite saw decreases of 0.6% and 0.7%, respectively. Interestingly, investors have become accustomed to such agreements and their impact on Tesla’s stock price after similar occurrences in the past. Consequently, BMW’s stock also fell by 0.4% in overseas trading on Wednesday.
In the ever-evolving landscape of EV technology, the choice of charging plug is a significant consideration for automakers. While some have embraced the NACS plug, others, including industry giants like Toyota, Stellantis, and Volkswagen, have chosen a different path. Ultimately, the decision affects not only the automakers but also the consumers and the overall infrastructure for EV charging.