Has Tesla Already Won the EV Charging War?

Tesla’s attempt to become the future of electric vehicle charging is gaining momentum. Texas, where Tesla is headquartered, announced Tuesday that all new electric vehicle chargers built in the state with federal funds must have Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector first reported by Reuters and confirmed to Gizmodo by the Texas Department of Transportation. The state-level decision follows a number of automakers that have announced their intention to include Tesla connectors in future vehicle models.

late May, Ford announced that Its electric vehicles will transition to Tesla’s NACS port starting in 2025. Meanwhile, the company announced that it will make an adapter developed by Tesla available to Ford electric vehicle drivers. earlier this month, General Motors followed suitThe company plans to integrate NACS into its new electric cars by 2025 and offer adapters by 2024. In an email to Gizmodo, a GM spokesman confirmed that the company’s vehicles were fitted 2025 and later will only This includes NACS ports. On Tuesday, Rivian jumped on board The train with a very similar schedule: NACS by 2025, adapters starting as early as spring next year. Rivian declined to clarify whether the company plans to remove CCS connectors from its vehicles by 2025.

Ultimately, those decisions influenced Texas politics, Adam Hammons, a spokesman for the state’s DOT, told Gizmodo in an email. “The decision by Ford, GM and now Rivian to implement NACS changed the requirements for Phase 1” of Texas’ freeway electrification program. Other states and more companies are likely to announce similar policies — some, like Hyundai, already think about it openly Jumpship to NACS. A number of charger manufacturers have also announced that they will start incorporating NACS connectors into their public charging stations. Overall, it’s a sea change for EV charging.

Contrary to Tesla’s naming convention for its non-standard ports and plugs, the actual standard for most EV brands sold in the US is the Combined Charging System (CCS). It is used by GM, Ford, Honda, KIA, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Audi and VW. Currently only Tesla uses the NACS setup. Nissan and Mitsubishi have used a type of charging port/plug called CHAdeMO in the past.

However, although most automakers use CCS as standard, most fast chargers in the US are NACS Tesla chargers. Corey Cantor an EV analyst at Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance the research organization Gizmodo said in a phone call. Around 17,000 Tesla chargers nationwide charge with over 100 kilowatts Guess he said. By comparison, there are about 7,500 non-Tesla chargers nationwide that meet or exceed the same fast-charging standard. Outside of the US, other parts of the world use others charging standards. In Europe, for example, the standard is CCS2 – what even Tesla employed abroad.

Due to Tesla’s relative popularity in There are also more cars using NACS than CCS vehicles in the US electric vehicle market. In addition, Tesla is expanding its charging network much faster than other companies. Four times as many ultra-fast chargers will be installed in 2022 than any other operator, according to Cantor.

Tesla’s public chargers are not only more numerous but have proven more reliable than those installed and operated by competitors like EVgo and Electrify America, he added. “The Tesla experience was far better, with better uptime,” Cantor said. An independent JD Power Analysis February confirms this, as Tesla owners report higher satisfaction with the charging experience than other EV drivers.

In Texas, new chargers installed as part of the state-funded EV infrastructure expansion effort will include both a NACS and CCS connector, Hammans said. Ultimately, if the primary goal is to encourage EV adoption, then corporate and state adoption of Tesla’s charging technology is likely to be a problem “Good thing,” Cantor said.

But for the industry at large, there are many unanswered questions. Although Tesla had had the idea of ​​opening up its charging network and technology for years, the company only started in November 2022 actually announced plans in order to do this. And it’s not a given that NACS will become the new norm. “We’ve got a few more dominoes to fall before you say that [CCS] default is totally dead,“Cantor told us.

Regardless, any transition will take years, and it remains to be seen how non-Tesla vehicles will fare with NACS charging — will it be seamless, Cantor wonders, or will problems arise as automakers try to use the once-proprietary technology to integrate into their vehicles ? It’s easy to reliably charge one vehicle make and three models, but serves a wider range of cars and trucks inevitably brings complications. Will Tesla chargers be able to adapt to higher charging speeds in the future as the overall tech landscape improves? Tesla said 12,000 of them The 17,500 existing chargers will be made accessible to Ford and GM vehicles, but will all future Tesla chargers be open? “You keep some [chargers] for themselves, one could imagine that they are in the best places”, Ryan Fisher, another EV analyst at BloombergNEF, wrote to Gizmodo via email. “The deal is better for Tesla than anyone else,” he added, noting that Ford and GM were essentially forced to embrace Tesla’s technology because there was no better option.

Meanwhile, Tesla should make a lot of money with the new charger trend. GM and Rivian both told Gizmodo via email that they don’t pay Tesla directly to use NACS technology — aside from the charge fees that individual users pay per charge — but still That’s a lot of new revenue, and it’s unclear if the trend of missing royalties will continue. Gizmodo would go to Tesla with these requests, but to the company owned by Elon Musk does not have a press office.

Then, of course, there was “the monopoly question,” Cantor emphasized. While Tesla’s chargers have proven to be the best in the US in recent years, that doesn’t mean they’re available in the US In the best interests of EV drivers, only they are available.

Plus that The introduction of NACS complicates current US politics. The final and accepted version The Biden administration’s National EV Infrastructure (NEVI) program requires that any federally-supported fast charger include a CCS connector or be otherwise accessible to CCS electric vehicles. This will probably remain so in the near future. Tesla has indicated this before retrofit existing chargers or install new ones to meet this requirement. And again, Texas plans to offer dual-port chargers. Chargers with two different plug types will inevitably become more expensive. It’s possible that by deciding to allocate more money to each charger, Texas may limit the total number of new chargers it installs. Hammons said the TX DOT does not currently have an estimate of how much money it will cost Texas to integrate NACS connectors into new chargers.

Despite all sorts of difficulties, Cantor remains optimistic. “I think we’re in the middle of the story, not at the end,” he said. He predicts that EV drivers will have to suffer “short-term pain for long-term gains.” If you’ve been considering switching to a non-Tesla EV, it might be worth waiting until there’s more clarity on how the charger issue will resolve, the analyst suggested. But in the long run, all EV drivers can probably look forward to an improved charging experience.

Currently, electric vehicles make up less than 2% of passenger cars on US roadsHowever, forecasts indicate that the number of electric vehicles in the fleet could increase tenfold by 2030. The issue of standardized chargers for electric vehicles has been unresolved for years. In the end, if Tesla’s NASC is the answer, Cantor said it’s better to get there now than in another decade.

Zack Zwiezen

Zack Zwiezen is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Zack Zwiezen joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing zackzwiezen@ustimespost.com.

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