How Tesla Is Trying To Standardize Electric Vehicle Charging In The US

Tesla is trying to make its currently proprietary chargers the North American Charging Standard for all electric vehicles in the region, in what some experts view as a way for the company to maintain dominance in the industry.

By Jennifer Hollohan | Published

Owners of electric vehicles know the frustration of locating a nearby charging station. While more charging stations are popping up almost every day, there is still the problem that the two different connector types are incompatible. But the latest news from Tesla is that they hope to change this by making their Tesla chargers the gold standard.

Tesla chargers are proprietary. So, as other car manufacturers started jumping onto the electric vehicle (EV) bandwagon, they had to develop an alternative. And they did.

All EVs other than Tesla utilize the Combined Charging System (CCS). It is currently the standard in North America. And because it is the standard, many charging networks prioritize the CCS when planning and constructing new charging stations. 

Elon Musk hopes to change that. On Friday, Telsa announced they would release the proprietary Tesla chargers’ information so others can benefit. The company intends to provide the production designs and specs.

If that sounds a little out of the ordinary for Tesla, that is because it is. The company historically guards its proprietary technology very closely. After all, much of that tech has given the company an edge over other manufacturers. 

But what is equally unusual is the news that the Tesla chargers will undergo a rebrand. They will now be the North American Charging Standard (NACS). Tesla hopes that this move will encourage charging networks to adopt its technology.

According to Engadget, part of Tesla’s reasoning behind the move is that “the NACS contains ‘no moving parts, is half the size, and twice as powerful,’ as the alternative.” And while all that may be true, it is unclear why the company will allow open access to the Tesla chargers. 

tesla chargers electric vehicles california ev charging stations electric vehicle chargers ev battery panasonic tesla electrics cars

One of Tesla’s arguments for the move is that more Tesla EVs are on the road than all other competitors combined. However, Engadget suggests “…that’s kind of ignoring that those numbers are a direct result of the multi-year lead that Tesla held over its competition in coming to market, a capitalization lead that is rapidly shrinking as the industry’s marquee brands like GM, Honda and Audi pivot to electrification and Chinese makers like BYD dominate the EV space in Asia’s largest market.” So, perhaps, this is Tesla’s attempt to stay dominant in an ever-expanding market?

The company says they look “…forward to future electric vehicles incorporating the NACS design and charging at Tesla’s North American Supercharging and Destination Charging networks.” And it continues by claiming “network operators already have plans in motion to incorporate NACS at their chargers.” However, they offered no details in support of that claim.

So, for now, it is all speculation and perhaps wishful thinking on Tesla’s part. However, it would not necessarily be a bad thing if this plan came to fruition. It would save EV drivers a few miles and possibly a headache.

One universal connection, whether it is a Tesla charger (NACS) or CCS, would be good news for drivers. It would allow them to pop by any charging station they found. And ultimately, it would mean less time charging and more time on the road.