Tesla Wants Other Companies To Use Its Proprietary Plug

Electric Vehicles / 3 Comments

But will anyone actually want to use it?

As of right now if you own a Tesla Model 3 (or any other Tesla vehicle) and want to charge it at a station such as Electrify America or EVgo, you have to use a charging adaptor. Conversely, if you own an electric vehicle that isn't a Tesla, you can not use Tesla's vast Supercharger network because the plug is different. Tesla has claimed for years that it will open the Superchargers for rival EVs, but nothing has materialized in the US. Now the company is taking a different approach by opening up its charging standard to other OEMs and networks.

"In pursuit of our mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy, today we are opening our EV connector design to the world," Tesla said in a blog post. "We invite charging network operators and vehicle manufacturers to put the Tesla charging connector and charge port, now called the North American Charging Standard (NACS), on their equipment and vehicles."

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Tesla argues that NACS is the most common charging standard in North America and its vehicles single-handedly outnumber CCS vehicles two-to-one. Additionally, the Supercharging network offers 60% more NACS plugs than all CCS networks combined. A company called Aptera previously started an online petition to make Tesla's NACS the new standard in North America, though it only garnered around 40,000 signatures (as of this writing).

"Similarly, we look forward to future electric vehicles incorporating the NACS design and charging at Tesla's North American Supercharging and Destination Charging networks," Tesla added. This sentence may add some clarity to the Elon Musk's claims that the Superchargers will open to rival companies. They may be "opened" in the technical sense of the word, but only if OEMs decide to ditch the agreed upon CCS standard for NACS.

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We'll admit, there are many advantages to NACS. It's a significantly smaller, less bulky cord, requires no additional steps beyond plugging in to pay, and has proven to be more reliable than other charging networks. However, much of Tesla's success can be attributed to its walled garden approach to EV charging. By introducing more variables with non-Tesla vehicles, that proven ease-of-use and reliability may not hold up.

Tesla has already published all design and specification files for NACS, and they are now available to download. It seems highly unlikely that any manufacturers will switch from CCS, though charging networks could potentially add Tesla plugs at their stations. Though Tesla vehicles can already charge using an adaptor, adding the NACS standard may entice owners to charge outside the Supercharger network.

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