The Tesla Supercharger bandwagon rolls on. When Tesla basically just gave its Supercharger charging system a name change to the “North American Charging Standard (NACS),” many saw it as a simple marketing attempt aimed at getting more federal subsidies. Would it make any difference? Would it matter? It may not have mattered much, but Ford CEO Jim Farley decided that Ford electric vehicle drivers would benefit from access to the Tesla Supercharger network and opened the floodgates — and the new name, North American Charging Standard, started to live up to its billing. Several automakers and some charging networks, most notably ChargePoint, have followed Ford’s lead and said they’re including NACS charging options with their cars and charging stations. Today, we’ve got two more such announcements to share.
Electrify America Gives Into Tesla’s Superior Fast-Charging Standard
The biggest announcement comes from Electrify America, which is the second largest EV fast-charging network in the country, only behind Tesla’s. “Electrify America announced today it will add the North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector to Electrify America and Electrify Canada’s fast charging networks as part of the company’s commitment to broaden charging solutions for electric vehicle (EV) drivers today and in the future,” the company wrote. What this effectively means is that Tesla is indeed going to win the charging wars, or has won them. Tesla’s fast-charging plug is smaller, lighter, and better than the CCS plug that had been widely adopted outside of Tesla before this recent shift in the market. But as more EVs from more brands use the NACS port by default, and as Electrify America and ChargePoint and other EV charging networks add NACS charging plugs to accommodate them, what will happen to big and clunky CCS? I’ll let you imagine, but here’s Electrify America’s initial statement on it:
“Electrify America will continue to provide the Combined Charging System (CCS-1) connector throughout its network as it transitions to also support automakers adding NACS charging ports. The company will work to offer a NACS connector option at existing and future charging stations by 2025 to make charging as convenient as possible for EV owners.” I don’t know if we can call this leadership, but Electrify America gets a nod for joining the party … by 2025.
“Since our founding, we have focused on building an inclusive and open hyper-fast charging network to facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles,” said Robert Barrosa, president and CEO of Electrify America. “We look forward to continuing to support industry-wide standards that increase vehicle interoperability and streamline public charging.”
Polestar Follows Cousin Volvo Into The Party
Cool kids arrive later to the party, right? Polestar is the newer, cooler, pricier, fully electric brand that Geely launched a few years ago to complement Volvo Cars in North America and Europe. Volvo Cars announced a couple of days ago that its electric vehicles would include the NACS charging port in the future.
The most common assumption with all of these announcements that have followed Ford’s floodgate-opening one is that no automaker wants to miss out on access to the Supercharger network and want to be seen as cool kids as well. However, one thing that might have influenced these decisions is that execs may have been told (beforehand or in recent weeks) that, yes, Tesla’s Supercharging system is more consumer friendly than the CCS charging system. After all, is there any genuine disagreement on that? But let’s get back to what Polestar has to say about this decision.
“Polestar has signed an agreement with Tesla to adopt the new North American Charging Standard (NACS) which will enable access to Tesla’s expansive Supercharger network for all Polestar drivers in the United States and Canada.
“From 2025, new Polestar vehicles sold in North America will be equipped with the NACS charging port by default. Adapters to help allow existing Polestar drivers to access the network in a convenient way are expected in mid-2024.”
Polestar cars built with the NACS port will come with a complementary CCS adapter.
So, yes, as a CleanTechnica reader noted after the Volvo Cars announcement, Polestar is following along the same lines, and Zeekr is probably next.
“This is a great win for our North American customers! We salute the pioneering work Tesla has done to speed up the adoption and increase the popularity of electric vehicles, and it’s great to see the Supercharger network being made available in this way. With 12,000 charging points today, a number that will only keep growing, this move will greatly increase the rate of EV adoption in a key automotive region,” says Thomas Ingenlath, CEO. Extra brownie points for that comment. Maybe Polestar will even pull in a few Tesla owners.
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