Everything You Need To Know About Tesla’s North American Charging Standard - SUV VEHICLE

Everything You Need To Know About Tesla’s North American Charging Standard


Tesla has long set out to be the master of electric vehicles. One of its main goals has been to provide the ability to charge its cars on long trips in a manner comparable to gas stations. Tesla called this effort the “supercharger network”. After over a decade of work, Tesla has expanded into all 50 US States, and locations all over the world. Tesla’s charging platform is called the North American Charging Standard, or NACS for short. The charging standard was developed in 2012 for the Tesla Model S. It’s been used on every Tesla Model since, including the Model X, Model 3, Model Y, and the Cybertruck.

NACS is taking the EV world by storm. There are more NACS charge points in the U.S. than there are for Combined Charging System and other styles put together. Simply put, if you do not have access to NACS you are not getting the most out of your electric car. After the U.S. Government passed a bi-partisan infrastructure law that provided over seven and a half billion dollars in subsidies to build out charging infrastructure, automakers were able to come to an agreement on using the NACS. Here’s what you need to know.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from various manufacturer press releases via the Tesla NACS Adoption Tracker.

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The NACS Is Not An Official Designation

North American Charging Standard. It carries some gravitas. It must come from a council of electrification across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, right? Unfortunately, no, that is not the case.

In the United States, there is no specific designation for charging type. The only specifications are on the power output of the charger, designated by levels, not by any kind of standard technology. A level one charger is a typical household outlet, up to about 120V which will take most of the day or even multiple days to recharge an EV.

Level Two chargers are the special ones specifically installed in homes to recharge EVs overnight, putting out about 240V of power. Level Three chargers are fast chargers using direct current, which can push electric vehicles back to full or near full power in a matter of minutes.

Tesla Created The Name

NACS was an original creation by Tesla. It was ultimately a marketing term, not any kind of scientific or regulatory one. However, giving it the importance implied by referencing the continent appears to have been effective. We now know that other automakers desire to use the NACS technology on their own cars.

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Most Electric Cars Will Be on NACS By 2025

Ford Mach-E And Lightning At A Tesla Supercharger plugged in

NACS has taken the EV world by storm. The validity of Tesla’s supercharger network has been acknowledged by a good chunk of American EV and foreign automakers and will become a standard beyond the name that Tesla has created for the Tesla charging type. The NACS has left the realm of pipe dream, and become a true standard for EVs of the future.

Major Automakers Have Agreed To Adopt The Standard

In recent months we’ve seen most major automakers declare allegiance to Tesla and bring in an agreement to support new port and become NACS cars. Here’s a quick list of some of the brands that will be using NACS ports:

Adapters Will Be Available For NACS Soon

Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 at a Tesla Supercharger

For most of these brands, the first access to the Tesla Supercharger network will be via a charging adapter that will connect the Combined Charging System port on their cars to the NACS plugs coming out of the supercharging system. Ford announced that these adapters should be ready in the second quarter of 2024. However, there has been absolutely no update as to when these adapters will actually be ready.

Unfortunately, it appears that Tesla will be handling the creation and distribution of most of these adapters. This sounds like it could be a good thing as Tesla is the original developer of the NACS and it has the most experience with the brand. However, Tesla products are unfortunately notorious for delay. Relying on Tesla to bring its competitors into the supercharging world seems like an absolutely terrible idea. However, for most of the companies listed above, that is the reality.

However, the Hyundai Motor Group, which encompasses Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis, has instead decided to bet on its new vehicles rather than the old ones. Its new electric cars that come out at the end of 2024 are theoretically the most advanced when it comes to charging as they will be some of the first non-Tesla vehicles to work with the NACS.

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NACS Killed The Combined Charging System

Ford Mustang Mach-E At A Tesla Supercharger

Many people are unaware that there already was a major automaker agreement to create a standard EV charging system. This effort was called the Combined Charging System or CCS. CCS was an attempt to ensure that new vehicles created were on the same system with some flexibility in the charging systems that went into the ports.

Despite The Largest Manufacturers In The World Using CCS, NACS Won

Here is a list of some manufacturers that have used CCS.

CCS provides multiple options in its charging technology. The first is called “Combo 1”, an early standard that was common on EVs made before 2011. Then in 2012, “Combo 2” was pushed by the European Union to become the standard for all European EVs produced. The CCS standard was to be brought to the US with all of these brands taking that European charge port and bringing it as the standard equipment for EVs in the United States.

However, a lack of infrastructure has made CCS significantly less appealing for consumers compared to the NACS. Now, almost all of these brands will adopt NACS. At this point, it does not appear that there will be a single holdout to the NACS charging technology in the whole of North America.

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NACS Is The Largest Charging Network In The World

A front shot of 2023 Tesla's Lineup plugged in

For EV owners, range anxiety is one of the biggest problems when it comes to driving an EV on the roads. Not knowing when a charge can come, or whether the remaining charge will get you where you need to go creates serious issues for drivers. Not only that, but this range anxiety deters consumers from ever thinking about even purchasing an EV in the first place. Tesla has attempted to combat range anxiety in multiple ways.

The first is through increasing the range and efficiency of its own cars. Sure, that is a great place to start, bringing the Tesla name to the forefront of electric vehicle range and performance. However, until battery technology fully advances to the next step, it can only take us so far.

Next, Tesla decided to create a ridiculous network of Superchargers across the country, especially in high-traffic areas, and on highways. This means that you can drive your Tesla virtually everywhere without worrying about charging it. Tesla’s devotion to this network of chargers has spurred the charging revolution as discussed in this article.

There Are 50,000 Ports Worldwide

Audi SQ8 e-tron charging

With over 50,000 ports in the world, cars with NACS have by far the biggest advantage when it comes to electric charging. Tesla brand EVs outnumber non-Tesla ones in the U.S. by about two to one as it currently stands, giving even more reason to insist on the NACS system. NACS vehicles obviously focus on the American market as of now. However, with triple-digit numbers in countries like Japan for example, the Tesla network becomes more and more global with each passing day.

The North American Charging Standard was once just a marketing term. Now it is the reality of charging ports for American electric vehicles. There is only one real holdout to NACS in the auto world, the Chinese. Chinese EVs are exceedingly popular and feature their own standard charging system from the Chinese government. However, with essentially every other big automaker in the world adopting NACS, we already may need to think of a new name. Not the North American Charging Standard, but the World Charging Standard.


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