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

What You Need To Know About The US EV Charging Switch To Tesla’s NACS

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Some months 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 Tesla has over 60% of the EVs on the road and now most manufacturers who were formerly committed to CCS have planned to switch to the Tesla Supercharger standard (now called NACS) as their primary charging standard. You can find a list below of the manufacturers that have declared they are switching to NACS. Since my last article 4 months ago, 13 additional companies have committed to the standard. The companies that have switched since my last article are listed in bold at the bottom of my list. Now manufacturers of over 90% of the EVs on the road have committed to NACS. I would expect that the few remaining companies selling EVs in the US will switch soon. The NACS parade marches on!

Background

For 6 years, I drove Nissan LEAFs that use the CHAdeMO L3 fast charging standard, 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 (now called NACS). The network uses a very compact plug, but only Teslas can use it right now. For the last 4 years, 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, but the buildout has been slow and reliability has been questionable. It is 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. But there are clear reasons for it.

Who is going to be using the NASC standard?

Nissan, Honda, and Toyota have recently announced switching to NACS. This is a big deal — these are the three major Japanese automobile brands. The Nissan LEAF has been out for over 10 years and recently passed 1,000,000 units sold. The LEAF has continued to use the CHAdeMO fast charging standard even though it is clear that the Japanese automobile manufacturer’s attempt to establish it as an industry-wide charging standard has failed. After failing with CHAdeMO, Nissan switched to the CCS standard with its second EV, the Ariya. So, you might find it surprising that Nissan is now switching to a third standard. I am really pleased to hear that Toyota and Honda have announced this, 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. There were 1,782 Tesla L3 DC Superchargers (NACS) locations in the United States as of June 12, 2023. With an average of 8 stalls per Supercharger, that means about 14,000 stalls are available.

Also, the reliability of the Tesla Supercharger system is unparalleled. In 4+ years 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. If the charger you plan to use is out of service, you are screwed.

Level 3 (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 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.

On May 25, 2023, Ford announced that it was planning on using the NACS standard. Then, on June 8, the dam broke when GM also announced plans to use the NACS standard. The 22 companies listed below are using or planning on enabling their cars to use NACS Superchargers with an adaptor next year (2024) or in 2025, and most will manufacture their cars with a native NACS port starting in 2025. It wouldn’t surprise me if some EV manufacturers also install two charging ports in their cars: one for the CCS and the other for the NACS.

Manufacturers using or planning to use the NACS so far:

  • Tesla
  • Aptera
  • Ford
  • GM
  • Rivian
  • Volvo
  • Mercedes
  • Polestar
  • Nissan
  • Fisker
  • Honda
  • Acura
  • Hyundai
  • Kia
  • Genesis
  • BMW
  • Mini
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Toyota
  • Lexus
  • Subaru
  • Lucid
  • Volkswagen

Since my last article on August 14 about this, additional manufacturers have announced the switch to NACS. However, consider 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 promises to switch.

Who will be the last manufacturers to commit to the NACS?

The only major laggard at this point is Stellantis (Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, Ram, etc.).

With these commitments and the momentum gained with over 90 % of EVs already planning to use NACS, it’s hard to imagine that the last EV manufacturers won’t also commit to NACS soon.

Can Tesla keep up with the new demand for NACS Superchargers?

There are over 2,000,000 Teslas on the road in the US. While 90% of most Tesla charging is done at home, this number puts stress on the Supercharging network in some busy locations. Figure 1 showing the 40-stall Supercharger station in Baker, California. It shows the kind of demand Tesla has to keep up with in busy locations. There are another 1,400,000 non-Tesla EVs on the road in the US. With EV sales increasing by up to 50% per year, new Teslas and new non-Tesla EVs all using the Supercharging network will put significant pressure on the system. Tesla will need to continue to rapidly build out its charging network to keep up with demand. But there’s no reason to think it can’t or wont.

Charging station manufacturers planning on adding the NACS plug to their chargers

Not only are EV manufactures lining up to use NACS, but numerous charger manufacturers are planning on adding NACS plug to their charging stations as well. Here’s a list:

  • Electrify America (this is a big one since EA has the second most fast charging stations in the US after Tesla, with 822 DC L3 chargers and 3,592 stalls)
  • ABB E-Mobility
  • Blink
  • ChargePoint
  • EVgo
  • Flo
  • FreeWire
  • SK Signet
  • Tritium
  • Wall Bbox

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

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.

Final notes

An interesting development: The 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 the company as punishment for its famous dieselgate scandal, no automobile manufacturers besides Tesla have invested any money in EV fast charging networks.

If you are driving a fairly 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.

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 will need to wait until next year before they can charge at Superchargers with an adaptor.

If I have missed an EV manufacturer which has announced the switch from CCS to NACS, or if one has announced since I went to press with this article, please let us all know in the comments section.

Tesla has reactivated its referral program. If you find any of my articles helpful, please use my referral link — https://ts.la/arthur73734 — when buying a new Tesla. If you are buying a Tesla and use my link (be sure to use it when you make your order), you’ll receive $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

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.

Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler has 113 posts and counting. See all posts by Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler