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Tesla opens its EV charge connector in the hope of making it the new standard

Tesla announced that it is opening its electric car charge connector in the hope of making it the new standard in North America. Why is the company doing this now, 10 years after it debuted in the 2012 Model S?

Earlier this year, Aptera launched a petition for Tesla’s charge connector to replace CCS as the new standard for electric vehicles in North America.

The petition has received almost 40,000 signatures, which is impressive for such a niche subject as EV charging standards.

When Tesla started making electric cars, there was no dominant charging standard, and therefore, Tesla developed its own. Things have changed a lot since then, and now, CCS has become the dominant charging standard in North America and Europe.

While CCS has now been almost globally adopted, it doesn’t necessarily make it the best charging standard out there. Most experts agree that Tesla’s connector is a more efficient and elegant design, but it would be hard to make it the standard because Tesla is behind it and the auto industry is quite competitive.

However, Tesla is making a move today that could help make it the new standard.

The automaker announced that it is opening its connector to the auto industry and renaming it the North American Charging Standard (NACS). Tesla wrote in a new blog post:

In pursuit of our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, today we are opening our EV connector design to the world. We invite charging network operators and vehicle manufacturers to put the Tesla charging connector and charge port, now called the North American Charging Standard (NACS), on their equipment and vehicles. NACS is the most common charging standard in North America: NACS vehicles outnumber CCS two-to-one, and Tesla’s Supercharging network has 60% more NACS posts than all the CCS-equipped networks combined.

Tesla noted that charging network operators “already have plans in motion to incorporate NACS at their chargers.”

We have previously reported on EVgo incorporating Tesla’s connector at hundreds of stations in the US.

Tesla has now published its design and specs online for anyone to access:

As a purely electrical and mechanical interface agnostic to use case and communication protocol, NACS is straightforward to adopt. The design and specification files are available for download, and we are actively working with relevant standards bodies to codify Tesla’s charging connector as a public standard. Enjoy.

At this point, it’s unclear if Tesla had discussions with electric automakers to adopt the standard. Virtually every automaker producing electric vehicles for the North American market is currently delivering them with CCS connectors.

Electrek’s Take

This is an interesting move by Tesla. The automaker is already in the process of accepting non-Tesla electric vehicles with CCS at its own Supercharger stations in North America.

Top comment by Steve Zodiac

Liked by 81 people

The Tesla plug is much less clunky than CCS but Tesla should have done this long ago and may have missed the bus.

View all comments

But what this move would actually do is enable automakers themselves to adopt the connector on their electric vehicles.

What’s important to keep in mind here is that the US government recently unlocked billions of dollars in funding for EV charging stations, and while the government didn’t require those stations to work with the CCS connector, it did require that the charging stations receiving funding work with EVs “from more than one automaker.”

For now, this requirement disqualifies Tesla’s Supercharger stations, but if only one automaker decides to adopt Tesla’s connector, or now the North American Charging Standard (NACS), it would qualify Tesla’s Supercharger network for incentives.

While some might see this as a loophole, it’s one for a good cause because Tesla’s connector is undoubtedly a better design than CCS.

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