Tesla is opening its new Supercharger EV connector design to the world, pushing a new fast-charging standard up to 900 kW to one megawatt. It has no moving parts, needs no external cooling, is half the size, and is twice as powerful as Combined Charging System (CCS) connectors commonly used in European EVs today, the company claims.
It now calls it the North American Charging Standard (NACS), claiming it to be the most used in the US. But critics put it to the sword as a marketing trick. “We invite charging network operators and vehicle manufacturers to put the Tesla charging connector and charge port on their equipment and vehicles,” Tesla says in a dedicated blog.
Most commonly used in the US
“NACS is the most common charging standard in North America: NACS vehicles outnumber CCS two-to-one, and Tesla’s Supercharging network has 60% more NACS posts than all the CCS-equipped networks combined.”
It says the Tesla connector has more than a decade of use and 20 billion EV charging miles to its name and is “the most proven in North America, offering AC charging and up to 1 MW DC charging in one slim package.” Tesla hopes to make it the preferred standard worldwide, inviting EV makers to follow.
Straightforward to adopt
“As a purely electrical and mechanical interface agnostic to use case and communication protocol, NACS is straightforward to adopt. The design and specification files are available for download, and we are actively working with relevant standards bodies to codify Tesla’s charging connector as a public standard. Enjoy.”
The Tesla charging technology is capable of operating at 500 volts and 1 000 volts, which are interoperable. The latter is new information, as Tesla so far uses 400-volt technology in its cars, while others like Hyundai and Kira have started using 800 volts and Lucid even 900.
Earlier, Tesla’s VP for Powertrain and Energy Engineering, Andrew Baglino, told the press scaling up to 800 volts would provide little benefits at a great cost for ‘small’ vehicles. He saw some legitimate advantages, mainly for bigger vehicles. Tesla may consider adopting an 800-volt architecture for the Cybertruck and the Tesla Semi.
Musk always promised to roll out a network of ‘Megachargers’ capable of charging at 1 MW, three times more than its most potent Superchargers today (324kW), to support its Semi trucks. Tesla claims 400 miles (650 km) of range in just 30 minutes is possible.
Not an altruistic move?
But not everyone sees Tesla’s move to invite other EV makers to use its NACS technology as altruistic. Like in Europe before, Tesla started accepting non-Tesla electric vehicles with CCS at its own Supercharger stations in North America. These stations must be open to more than one vehicle brand to get some of the recent government funding for charging stations.
Inviting other EV charging suppliers to adopt Tesla’s NACS ‘standard’ too would make the Superchargers eligible for those subsidies, too, elektrek.com points out.
“Tesla likely hopes it won’t have to incur the cost of opening up its Superchargers to other EVs through offering CCS compatibility should Tesla desire to cash in on funding from federal (and state) programs,” Phil Royle writes at the EV blog the WattCar .
“And while CCS is slowly rolling out through third-party companies in the US, Tesla aims to keep its charging dominance. With the release of its NACS charging plug standard, Tesla stands to create confusion within the industry, fragmenting the industry while Tesla reaps the benefits.”