As some may be aware, Ford and General Motors (GM) recently announced a deal with Elon Musk and Tesla to adopt the Tesla plug or the North American Charging Standard (NACS). Since that initial announcement, Volvo and Rivian have also announced their intention to abandon their current Combined Charging System (CCS) connector in favor of NACS. So, what does this mean for customers and the EV industry as a whole?
The answer is in the short term – not much. But in the long term, Tesla has likely ended the competition for charging standards, at least in North America.
Currently, three different types of DC Fast Charging Plugs are available in North America – CCS (also known as the SAE Combo), Tesla (NACS), and CHAdeMO. CCS has been mostly favored by North American and European manufacturers, CHAdeMO by Asian manufacturers, and until now Tesla connectors we’re exclusive to Tesla. The different connectors look like this:
Think of it as the fight between Betamax and VCRs or more recently of HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray. Eventually, the industry had to settle on one type of technology and until recently it seemed that the CCS connector would be the victor. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (which is set to provide $7.5 billion in EV charging funds over the next few years) mandates that federally funded fast chargers include a CCS connector. However, the Biden Administration recently released a fact sheet clarifying that while the CCS connector requirement remains, stations may also provide NACS connectors and still receive funding.
So, what does this mean for EV and EV charging manufacturers? For EV manufacturers, the earliest new, non-Tesla vehicles will begin to hit the road with NACS connectors will be in 2025 or later, meaning there will still be a huge market for CCS charging stations in the near to medium future. Most major EV charging manufacturers, including ChargePoint and Blink, have already announced the option to use NACS on new stations beginning in late 2023 (ChargePoint) and late 2024 (Blink). ChargePoint has also recently announced that they will replace stations under warranty with NACS connectors (if unable to be retrofitted in the field). This is a powerful incentive to encourage charging station owners to purchase the extended Assure 5-year warranty to potentially future-proof their stations. So, owners installing stations with CCS connectors today will still have years of new vehicles being manufactured with that connector (and an adaptor between CCS and NACS already exists) and will have the option to add NACS soon.
In the long term – the abrupt shift to NACS has occurred much faster than anyone anticipated, and NACS will likely end the CCS and CHAdeMO connectors (which were already falling out of favor). This is good for the industry as a whole and will help lead to more standardization of the charging experience and increased EV adoption.
Sunworks is standing by to answer any questions about this transition and is available as our customer’s full turnkey partner for EV charging installations.