Multiple electric vehicle manufacturers, charging networks, and charging equipment suppliers in North America are now evaluating the use of Tesla's North American Charging Standard (NACS) charging connector.

NACS was developed by Tesla in-house and used as a proprietary charging solution for both AC and DC charging. On November 11, 2022, Tesla announced the opening of the standard and the NACS name, with a plan that this charging connector will become a continent-wide charging standard.

At the time, the entire EV industry (besides Tesla) was using the SAE J1772 (Type 1) charging connector for AC charging and its DC-extended version - the Combined Charging System (CCS1) charging connector for DC charging. CHAdeMO, used initially by some of the manufacturers for DC charging, is an outgoing solution.

In May 2023 things accelerated when Ford announced the switch from CCS1 to NACS, starting with next-generation models in 2025. That move annoyed the Charging Interface Initiative (CharIN) association, which is responsible for CCS. Within two weeks, in June 2023, General Motors announced a similar move, which was considered a death sentence for CCS1 in North America.

Tesla: North American Charging Standard vs CCS Combo 1

Tesla: North American Charging Standard vs. CCS1

As of mid-2023, two of the largest North American vehicle manufacturers (General Motors and Ford) and the largest all-electric car manufacturer (Tesla, with a 60-plus percent share in the BEV segment) are committed to NACS. This move caused an avalanche, as more and more EV companies are now joining the NACS coalition. While we were wondering who might be nextCharIN announced support for the NACS standardization process (over 51 companies signed-up in the first 10 days or so).

Most recently, Rivian, Volvo Cars, Polestar, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Fisker, Honda and Jaguar announced the switch to NACS, starting in 2025. Hyundai, Kia and Genesis announced that the switch will start in Q4 2024. The latest companies that have confirmed the switch are BMW Group, Toyota, Subaru and Lucid. The Volkswagen Group confirmed the upcoming switch for all its brands (Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen and Scout) in December 2023. In 2024, Mazda and Stellantis officially announced the switch, starting in 2025.

SAE International announced on June 27, 2023, that it will standardize the Tesla-developed North American Charging Standard (NACS) charging connector - SAE NACS. On December 19, 2023, SAE International announced that it has released the Technical Information Report (TIR) for the SAE J3400TM North American Charging Standard (NACS). According to the SAE, the J3400's probable release date is fall of 2024.

The potential ultimate scenario might be the replacement of the J1772 and CCS1 standards with NACS, although there will be a transition period when all types will be used on the infrastructure side. Currently, US charging networks will have to include CCS1 plugs to be eligible for public funds - this also includes the Tesla Supercharging network.

On July 26, 2023, seven BEV manufacturers - BMW Group, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, and Stellantis - announced that they will create in North America a new fast-charging network (under a new joint venture and without a name yet) that will operate at least 30,000 individual chargers. The network will be compatible with both CCS1 and NACS charging plugs and is expected to offer an elevated customer experience. The first stations will be launched in the US in the summer of 2024.

Charging equipment suppliers are also preparing for the switch from CCS1 to NACS by developing NACS-compatible components. Huber+Suhner announced that its Radox HPC NACS solution will be unveiled in 2024, while the prototypes of the plug will be available for field testing and validation in the first quarter. We also saw a different plug design shown by ChargePoint.

Huber+Suhner Radox HPC NACS charging plug

Huber+Suhner Radox HPC NACS charging plug

ChargePoint's NACS-compatible plug

ChargePoint's NACS-compatible plug

In this post, we will track and update the current state of the transition from CCS1 to NACS in North America, combining all the details in one place.

[Last update: February 13, 2024]

Tesla: North American Charging Standard

North American Charging Standard (NACS)

Ford F-150 Lightning charging

The Combined Charging System (CCS1) plug and inlet - Ford F-150 Lightning

Definitions

There are various plugs and inlets used around the world for EV charging, depending on the market and its specifics. Here are the most popular types:

  • SAE J1772 (Type 1): For AC charging (1-phase). The maximum power rating is up to 19.2 kW (80 A at 240 V)
  • Combined Charging System (CCS1) aka SAE J1772 Combo (CCS Combo 1) for DC fast charging. The maximum power output currently is 500 kW (assuming 500 A at 1,000 V).
    [technology and technical specification of the CCS]
  • IEC 62196-2 (Type 2) for AC (1-phase or 3-phase charging scenarios). The maximum power output is 14.5 kW (63 A at 230 V) 1-phase or 43.5 kW (at 63 at 230 V) 3-phase.
  • Combined Charging System (CCS2) for DC fast charging. The maximum power output currently is up to 500 kW (assuming 500 A at 1,000 V).
    [example 500 kW CCS1/CCS2 connectors: HUBER+SUHNER RADOX HPC500, Phoenix Contact]
  • NACS for AC (1-phase) and DC charging. The maximum power rating has not been specified, although according to Tesla, the NACS will handle up to 1 MW power (continuously) in a 1,000 V configuration (assuming 1,000 A). [technical specification of the NACS]
    [Jun 27, 2023] SAE announced that it will standardize the Tesla-developed NACS charging connector
  • CHAdeMO for DC charging. An outgoing type of charging connector in North America, which originated from Japan and was pioneered by Nissan in 2010, on the Nissan Leaf model.
  • Chinese GB/T connectors, which have two separate connectors for AC and DC charging.

* The maximum power output might increase in the future (via an update to the standard/new plug design). Plugs or inlets currently used on the market are certified for a certain current or voltage (not necessarily the maximum value described in the standard).

A comparison of CCS1 and CCS2 plugs and inlets:

CHAdeMO charging inlet:

2018 Nissan LEAF CHAdeMO DC fast charging inlet

2018 Nissan LEAF CHAdeMO DC fast charging inlet

GB/T charging inlets (left for AC and right for DC) on a Tesla car in China:

Tesla Supercharging in China

Tesla Supercharging in China

Tesla Supercharging station in China

Tesla Supercharging station in China

Tesla charging inlets: NACS in North America and CCS2-compatible in Europe:

Tesla Supercharging

Tesla Supercharging - NACS plug

Tesla Supercharging in Europe: CCS2-compatible plug and inlet

Tesla Supercharging in Europe: CCS2-compatible plug and inlet

Automakers That Confirmed Adoption Of The NACS Charging Connector

Electric vehicle manufacturers (alphabetically), which are committed to using the NACS charging connector in North America:

EV Charging Networks That Confirmed Adoption Of the NACS Charging Connector

Electric vehicle charging networks (alphabetically), committed to using NACS:

Charging Equipment Manufacturers That Will Adopt NACS Connector

The list of manufacturers of EV charging equipment (alphabetically), interested in adding the NACS option:

Federal And State Requirements For Charging Infrastructure

According to federal requirements for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program (NEVI), to be eligible for public funds for new EV charging infrastructure in the United States, companies must equip chargers with Combined Charging System (CCS1) plugs (other types are optional).

The minimum requirement for a DC fast charging station is to have four CCS1 outputs, with the ability to charge four electric vehicles simultaneously (each with an output of 150 kW or more).

All publicly funded AC charging points are required to have J1772 plugs (6 kilowatts minimum).

"This final rule establishes a requirement that each DCFC located along and designed to serve users of designated AFCs must simultaneously deliver up to 150kW, as requested by the EV, and that each AC Level 2 port be capable of providing at least 6 kW per port simultaneously across all AC ports with an option to allow the customer to consent to accept a lower power level to allow power sharing or to participate in smart charge management programs. This final rule also clarifies that power sharing is permissible above the minimum 150-kW per-port requirement for DCFCs." - National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Standards and Requirements [see NEVI fact sheets]

Because the base requirements were announced several months before the CCS1 to NACS transition started in May/June, we guess that the requirements might change at some point in the future and also include NACS.

Some states already announced plans that they will require the North American Charging Standard (NACS) plugs (as an additional requirement):

Charging infrastructure projects that are not supported by NEVI can use any charging solution.

Other Markets And CCS1 To NACS Implications

The switch from CCS1 to NACS in the United States and in the broader North American region is expected to affect other markets around the world. At least those which also used CCS1 as the primary EV charging connector.

Those markets are smaller than the US market, and there seems to be no reason for them to stick with an eventually orphaned CCS1 plug.

The primary market to be concerned with in this regard is South Korea. There might be a few other regions as well.

In Japan, there is no CCS1, but rather J1772 (AC) and CHAdeMO (DC). However, as Tesla uses its proprietary plug for Supercharging and CHAdeMO is struggling outside of Japan, Japan might consider a switch. The decision about a charging standard must include the long-term interest (even things like the value and export potential of used cars to surrounding markets).

Europe and other markets that follow the CCS2 connector are not directly affected by the change to NACS, especially since CCS2 supports three-phase charging, which is crucial in the majority of the world.

China has its own policy and two GB/T charging connectors (one for AC and one for DC charging). Tesla uses GB/T-compatible charging inlets and plugs in this country.

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