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Big unanswered questions about switching to Tesla-style electric plugs

A graphic with a starburst in the background and the silhouettes of CCS1 and NACS charger plugs in the foreground

Aurich Lawson | Getty Images QualitySponge EV charger plug migration continues to accelerate. Since our last article on the subject, first Polestar and then Mercedes-Benz have also announced that they will be ditching the Combined Charging Standard 1 (CCS1) connector in favor of Tesla’s North American charging standard ( NACS). Sometime next year, non-Tesla EVs from those brands, as well as Ford, GM, Volvo and Rivian, will be able to start using Tesla’s Supercharger network. By 2025, these automakers (and possibly more) will begin producing vehicles with built-in NACS ports. Not just car manufacturers. Charger manufacturers and charging networks have also been releasing new NACS products, and it feels like CCS1 may be dying. Or at least it might be relegated to antiquity alongside CHAdeMO. Things are looking even better now that SAE International is taking over management of NACS so it will no longer be controlled by a rival OEM run by a billionaire known for his impulsive and often arbitrary decisions . For now, many are just waiting to see whether Hyundai Motor Group or Volkswagen Group will be the next big shift.

The rationale for ditching entrenched standards and switching over to NACS by Ford and others is to give EV owners access to Tesla’s Supercharging network, why not? Even the most die-hard proponents of the EV branding debate have to admit that Superchargers are not only far more numerous, but offer a far superior charging experience than any public charging network.

But does this automatically mean that the switch from CCS1 to NACS will guarantee a superior charging experience for all Fords, Chevrolets, Rivians, Volvos, Polestars and Mercedes ? I’m not entirely sure that’s the case. I have three big unanswered questions: Is a non-Tesla suitable for a supercharger, is a non-Tesla suitable for At superchargers, why should we trust different plugs to suddenly make all those very unreliable third-party charging networks suddenly work perfectly?

For hardware manufacturers — cars and chargers — the switch should theoretically be less difficult. In fact, NACS actually uses the same communication protocol as CCS (and ISO15118, also known as “plug and charge”), unlike earlier versions of the Supercharger network, which used proprietary communication with Tesla’s CAN bus interface protocol.

Does it fit?

But the first big question any non-Tesla manufacturer driver will have is if the charging cable reaches them charging port. As a fully closed ecosystem (so far), Tesla has been able to optimize the Supercharging experience for its EVs. As a result, all of Tesla’s charging ports are in the same place (at the back, integrated into the side of the light cluster), which in turn means the Supercharger doesn’t need long cables to reach them.

Other makes have ports all over the place – usually on the front fenders in front of the doors, but sometimes at the rear under the C-pillar – but There is little standardization as to which side of the car they go on. We don’t know if Tesla will redesign the Supercharger to accommodate the new product, but if so, “you’d need a very long cable to get to every spot in the charging port,” said ADS-TEC Senior Product Marketing and Communications. said Vice President Dennis Mueller. Manufactures electric vehicle charging hardware. “Long cables mean they’re heavy; the cost of copper etc. is high.”
Not only do those longer cables get more expensive, but It will also get more expensive. They also became heavier and bulkier. And it’s not the plastic CCS1 plug that’s causing the bulky cables on your Electrify America or Chargepoint (or any other company) fast chargers. All are copper wires.



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