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Figure 1: 40 Station Tesla Supercharger. Baker, California. February 21, 2022. Photo by Fritz Hasler

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What You Need To Know About Fast Charging EVs Now & Over The Next Few Years In USA

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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about the surprise switch from CCS to NACS as the de facto standard for EV charging in North America. CCS charging won’t disappear, but now, aside from Tesla (which has over 60% of the EVs on the road in the US), many manufacturers that were formerly committed to CCS have planned to switch to the Tesla Superchargers or NACS as their primary charging standard. You can find a list of the manufacturers below that have declared switching to NACS. No sooner was my article published by CleanTechnica than another major manufacturer, Nissan, announced its switch as well. Now manufacturers of over 75% of the EVs on the road have committed to NACS. I would expect that virtually all EV companies will switch soon, but there have been no additions to the list over the last few weeks.

Background

I drove Nissan Leafs, which use the CHAdeMO L3 fast charging standard, for 6 years, so I know what it’s like to have very few places to fast charge your EV. Tesla has paid for and installed on its own dime its marvelous, ubiquitous Supercharging network (using NACS standard) that includes very compact plugs — but only Teslas can use these chargers now. For the last 3 years and 8 months, I have been driving cross country numerous times in my Tesla Model 3 without a bit of concern about finding Superchargers on my route. Every other manufacturer had standardized on the CCS charging system. It was a big surprise to me that the so called NACS has actually become a charging standard, to say nothing of the totally dominant charging standard.

Who is going to be using the NASC standard?

Nissan is the most recent EV manufacturer to announce a switch to NACS. This is a big deal because it is one of the three major Japanese automobile brands along with Toyota and Honda. The Nissan Leaf EV has been out for over 10 years and just passed 1,000,000 units sold. The Leaf has continued to use the CHAdeMO fast charging standard even though it was clear that the Japanese automobile manufacturer’s attempt to establish it as an industry-wide charging standard was failing. Finally, Nissan’s second EV, the Ariya, had switched to the CCS standard, so you might find it surprising for Nissan to switch to a third standard. However, it’s not surprising that we haven’t heard from Toyota or Honda yet, as they are major laggards in switching their lineups to battery electric.

Why has NACS become the dominant EV charging standard?

In my previous article, I explained that Tesla Superchargers are so ubiquitous on Interstate highways that long-distance cross-country travel is routine in a Tesla. A correction from my earlier article pointed out by my readers: There are were 1,782 Tesla Superchargers locations in North America as of June 12, 2023 (not 12,000). With an average of 8 stalls per Supercharger, that makes about 14,000 stalls available.

Also, the reliability of the Tesla Supercharger system is unparalleled. In 3 years and 8 months on 9 cross-country trips, I have never seen a Supercharger out of service and have never had to wait more than a few minutes for an empty stall. On a cross-country trip, you arrive at a charger usually at a very low level of charge. We often have remaining range of only 10 to 15 miles. If the charger you plan to use is out of service, you are screwed. If you could reach a nearby L2 charger as an emergency backup plan, you would be facing a 6 hour charge. If there are other drivers also looking for a place to charge, you will be completely out of luck. At that point, you would be facing a L1 charge, which would take a couple of days to complete. Hopefully your primary charger would be repaired in the meantime, but your need for a tow truck would be likely and a hotel stay would be mandatory.

Note: L3 DC fast chargers are the only chargers that are really fast enough to be useful during the day for cross-country road trips. However, as of May 2023, Tesla also has agreements with some 3,941 hotels where they have installed slower L2 “Destination Chargers.” On a cross-country trip of multiple days, Destination Chargers will save you from stopping for one charge each day. You pull up to the hotel, plug into the L2 Destination Charger, and by the time you leave the next morning, you have a full charge. Hopefully Destination Chargers will soon become as common as Internet as a service provided by all hotels.

A year ago, the only EV company planning to use the NACS standard besides Tesla was Aptera, and Aptera hasn’t sold any cars yet.

Then a few months ago Ford announced that it was planning on using the NACS standard. The dam broke and GM also announced plans to use the NACS standard. The companies listed below are planning on enabling their cars to use NACS Superchargers with an adapter next year (2024) and to manufacture their cars with a native NACS port starting in 2025. Note: the Nissan Leaf has always had two separate charging ports — a CHAdeMO port for L3 DC fast charging and a second port for J1772 L2 220V AC charging. It wouldn’t surprise me if some EV manufacturers also build two charging ports into their cars: One for CCS and the other for NACS.

Manufacturers using or planning to use the NACS so far:

  • Tesla [creator of the NACS; since 2012 in all new car models — on November 11, 2022, announces the opening of its proprietary charging standard and the North American Charging Standard (NACS) name]
  • Aptera [Nov 11, 2022]
  • Rivian [Mar 21, 2023 — adds Superchargers to navigation system; Jun 20, 2023 — announces it will implement the Tesla charging port on the R1S and R1T in 2025 (and upcoming R2 platform), and adapters will be available starting in 2024 for existing models]
  • Ford [May 25, 2023 — announces it will implement the NACS charging port on new EVs in 2025, and adapters will be available starting in 2024 for existing models]
  • GM [June 8, 2023 — announces it will implement the NACS charging port on new EVs in 2025, and adapters will be available starting in 2024 for existing CCS1-compatible models]
  • Mercedes-Benz [July 7, 2023 — announces it will implement the NACS charging port on new EVs in 2025]
  • Volvo [June 27, 2023 — announces it will implement the NACS charging port on new EVs in 2025, and adapters will be available starting in H1 2024 for existing CCS1-compatible models]
  • Polestar [June 29, 2023 — announces it will implement the NACS charging port on new EVs in 2025]
  • Nissan [July 19, 2023 — announces it will implement the NACS charging port on the Ariya and new EVs in 2025, and adapters will be available starting in 2024 for existing CCS1-compatible models]

However, since Nissan on July 19, 2023, no additional manufacturers have committed to switching to the NACS standard. Another thing to consider is that the big switch to NACS is in the promises, promises stage. We won’t know for two years if all the manufacturers make good on their promise to switch. Who will be the next manufacturer to commit to the NACS? Will it by Volkswagen, which has built the Electrify America CCS network? Will it be Stellantis, the company the makes Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, Peugeot, and more brands? Will it be EV laggards Toyota and Honda?

Major laggards at this point:

  • Toyota
  • Honda
  • Volkswagen
  • Stellantis (Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, Peugeot, etc.)
  • Hyundai
  • Kia

With these commitments and the momentum gained from over 75% of EVs already planning to use NACS, it’s hard to imagine any EV manufacturer that won’t commit to NACS soon.

Not only are EV manufactures lining up to use the NACS, but numerous charger manufacturers are planning on adding NACS plugs to their charging stations.

Charging station manufacturers planning on adding NACS plugs to their chargers:

  • Electrify America (this is big since EA has the second most fast charging stations in the US after Tesla, with 822 DC L3 chargers and 3592 stalls)
  • ABB E-Mobility
  • Blink
  • ChargePoint
  • EVgo
  • Flo
  • Freewire
  • SK Signet
  • Tritium
  • Wallbox

Note: Ford has 12,000 charging stations with 35,000 stalls. However, these are only L2 AC chargers. All Teslas can use these chargers with an adapter, but as Ford switches to NACS, one would expect eventually that many of these stalls will also have NACS plugs.

New Development — New Charging Consortium

A consortium of EV manufacturers, ChargeX, was announced May 18 by the US Department of Energy (DOE). Its mission is to improve public EV charging reliability and usability by June 2025.

More specifically, ChargeX’s plan is to make sure that customers achieve first-time plug-in success every time they use public EV chargers.

The consortium is made of up nearly 30 companies and growing, including Tesla, Electrify America, ChargePoint, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Tritium. It’s led by the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The group is going to build on the foundation for charging reliability established by the minimum standards for projects funded under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program.

New Development — $1 Billion Investment in Charging Station Joint Venture

BMW Group, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz Group, and Stellantis will initially invest at least $1 billion in a joint venture that will build 30,000 charging ports on major highways and other locations in the United States and Canada. This is another big deal: until now, outside of Volkswagen’s investment in the Electrify America charging network that was forced on them as punishment for their famous dieselgate scandal, no automobile manufacturers besides Tesla have invested any money in EV fast charging networks. Again, this is in the promises stage and won’t come to fruition for years. Also, this consortium will most likely be expected to get federal government subsidies to amplify the companies’ investments.

Other Tesla Charging Tidbits

If you are driving a new Tesla, you have the best of both worlds: 1) You have native access to Tesla’s superb Supercharger network, which is already in place. 2) Also, for $100 or so, you can buy a CCS-to-NACS adaptor which allows you to access all CCS charging stations. Some older Teslas can be retrofitted to use the adaptors, but the last time I checked for my 2019 Model 3, the retrofit was only available for the Model S and X.

Tesla has equipped a handful of Superchargers with its “Magic Dock,” which allows some CCS cars to charge. Otherwise the owners of the non-Tesla brands listed above need to wait until next year before they can charge at Superchargers with an adapter.

If I have missed an EV manufacturer which has announced the switch from CCS to NACS, please let us all know in the comments section.


Tesla has reactivated its referral program. If you find any of my articles helpful to you please use my referral link: https://ts.la/arthur73734. If you are buying a new Tesla and use my link (be sure to use it when you make your order), you’ll receive $500 to $1,000 off your purchase price and 3 months of Full Self-Driving. It is technically FSD Beta and it will drive you automatically to any address you enter into the navigation. (Just be prepared to intervene immediately if it screws up.)

 
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Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler, PhD, former leader of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization & Analysis Laboratory (creator of this iconic image), and avid CleanTechnica reader. Also: Research Meteorologist (Emeritus) at NASA GSFC, Adjunct Professor at Viterbo University On-Line Studies, PSIA L2 Certified Alpine Ski Instructor at Brighton Utah Ski School.

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