Tesla Won The Plug War, But Will It Improve Charging?

In North America it truly appears like J1772 and CCS are on their escape. With just a couple of significant automobile business holding out, the tide has kipped down a big method and by 2025 the majority of EVs on sale will have the NACS/ Tesla port on board. Why the switch? It seems like it's generally a desire to attract consumers with the promise of more trusted DC charging, but will it actually improve things? Yes and no …

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34 responses to “Tesla Won The Plug War, But Will It Improve Charging?”

  1. EV Buyers Guide Avatar
    EV Buyers Guide

    So far the companies adopting NACS are: GM, Ford, Mercedes, Volvo, Polestar, Nissan, Rivian, and Aptera. Most major DC charging networks have also announced support. The rumor mill says Stellantis is in talks but we have no word from BMW, Toyota or Hyundai/Kia yet. The version of NACS everyone is adopting seems to be “V4” which will support up to 615 kW (615A at 1,000V) but we don’t have complete details yet because there appear to be a few changes vs the published 1,000V spec on Tesla’s website. More to come over the next few months.

    1. JazzFan74 Avatar

      Adopting or “say they are adopting”? Does that list of adopters already have cars on the market with the Musk charger? Or have they promised something for the future?

    2. EV Buyers Guide Avatar
      EV Buyers Guide

      @JazzFan74 Supposedly working prototypes already on the ground. Contracts have been signed but we don’t know how much money has changed hands. GM has said they are on track with the change-over and that the R&D work started more than a year ago.

    3. Takusman Avatar

      what about Honda? they announced their first ev for 2024 and acura as well

    4. EV Buyers Guide Avatar
      EV Buyers Guide

      @Takusman They have been tight lipped, but onw would assume they would be also since GM is making the Acura and Honda EVs for Honda.

    5. JazzFan74 Avatar

      @EV Buyers Guide That certainly sounds pretty definitive, assuming “supposedly” means “it is a fact that”.

  2. Ben's Eco Adventure Avatar
    Ben’s Eco Adventure

    To be fair, EVgo recently said they are coordinating with manufacturers on their new vehicles to test DCFC prior to actually going on sale. I have no idea what EA is doing though.

    1. EV Buyers Guide Avatar
      EV Buyers Guide

      EV Go and EA both told me directly in an interview that they would be happy to validate cars, it’s GM and Ford that have not bothered to do that. So if the companies don’t give EA and EVgo cars and software to test before they roll out an update or new car, why do we think they would treat Tesla any differently?

  3. bruddahmanmatt Avatar

    You hit on the biggest reason for the legacy brands to jump ship to NACS in the US, the maintenance and upkeep of DCFC stations. When it comes to charging, Tesla’s biggest advantage here in the states is that they actively maintain their DCFC network. I almost exclusively L2 charge both of our EVs at work or at home, and for the most part of I need to L3 it’s no biggie, but I see a lot more complaints about broken hardware on Plugshare at EA, Chargepoint or EVGo stations than I do at Supercharger locations.

    1. Norm T Avatar
      Norm T

      Almost all charging happens at home today or shopping/dining on L2. This getting blown out of proportion with a fixation on L3.

  4. Ryan On Life Avatar
    Ryan On Life

    Alex and Team, just wanted to say that you guys are doing an awesome job! I like the changes you guys have made so far and you guys are still by far the most informative channel when it comes to anytime AUTOMOTIVE!

    1. Riyad Kalla Avatar
      Riyad Kalla

      Second this sentiment

  5. News Coulomb Avatar
    News Coulomb

    Thanks for providing a bit of the history. So the J1772-2001 that you were referred to was the Avcon plug, and it was actually released concurrently with the MagneCharge induction paddle chargers used by GM and Toyota. During the standardization process, SAE was concerned about rain/water intrusion during charging with the induction system, so they homologated the J1772-2001 standard with the Avcon conductive charging head. And that’s really the one thing I would have liked you to address better here: The plug is not the standard.
    In fact, based on precedence, the actual Tesla standard (CAN bus based) is dead or at least dying, and it is being replaced by the CCS/J1772 standards which are now migrating to the Tesla plug head. So, just as no one refers to J1772-2001 as the “Avcon standard” or J1772-2009 as the “Yazaki standard,” we also shouldn’t be referring to this new “NACS” plug as the “Tesla standard.”
    Also, a couple other points that need to be addressed. CCS1 is currently deployed across multiple continents, so “NACS” is definitely a misleading and inappropriate name. Also, it will be a while before Tesla owners are able to use public “NACS” heads because while “NACS” is 100% interoperable with CCS, most Tesla cars are still missing the PLC module required to charge using CCS. Likewise, that’s why the automakers who have brokered a deal with Tesla to access the Superchargers still will not be able to use about 8,000 Supercharger stalls in North America (those Superchargers are still operating only on Tesla’s standard and are not directly compatible with CCS). The 12,000+ Supercharger stalls that are being opened are all “bi-lingual,” and able to speak either Tesla or CCS.

    1. flamingspinach Avatar

      Wow, there were really a whole lot of extra details not mentioned in the video, huh.

    2. News Coulomb Avatar
      News Coulomb

      @flamingspinach It’s complicated topic, for sure, but frankly, that’s because the easiest way to explain it isn’t palatable for TSLA influencers. All that’s happening is that, in North America, South America, parts of Asia, the CCS1 plug format is being replaced by the Tesla plug format. Basically, a new CCS plug head.

      The other confusing part is that people keep conflating this new standard with several automakers negotiating to access the Tesla Superchargers. Those are two very different things, though it looks like part of Tesla’s requirement for the deal is that those automakers eventually adopt the new plug. My guess is that Tesla is doing that because they realized how expensive it would be to put “Magic Docks” at every location where they wanted public funding to pay for the chargers, and they can’t sell a CCS adapter on the open market because they still want to restrict access to the Superchargers as much as possible.

    3. EV Buyers Guide Avatar
      EV Buyers Guide

      The signaling changes are going to be interesting for sure. It sounds like the rollout schedule for SC V4 is designed to coincide with the roll out of other OEMs accessing SC stations. We have no word from EA or others if they will or will not support the signaling needed to CCS charge. On the support front it seems like “most” Teslas on the road should support CCS already, the build change was October 2020. Tesla sold ~1.3 million cars before the switch and about 3.2 million since November 2020. Older Teslas will require an upgrade that seems to cost about $450.0

    4. News Coulomb Avatar
      News Coulomb

      @EV Buyers Guide The true Tesla standard would require both CAN communication and Tesla to release their proprietary protocols, so I can’t see that happening for public charging providers. I suppose it’s possible, but I expect the public chargers to remain as PLC.

      Also, I haven’t confirmed this, but some Tesla owners have reported that even post 2020 MY Teslas have been shipping without the PLC module due to parts shortages. I know that friends with pre-2020 MY Teslas haven’t even been given a solid ETA for when they will get their PLC modules installed.

  6. James Russo Avatar
    James Russo

    I think with the DC fast charging reliability thing, anything is better than nothing in this case and we definitely need something for CCS cars in North America.

  7. 1970351C2V Avatar

    Great video, probably the most informed and unbiased I’ve seen lately. Personally, I’m excited about Tesla’s network, but not their plug. It’s more reliable in part because it moves failure components to the vehicle (the lock, and also the AC/DC charging contactors ) from the plug. I can find another plug to charge, but if either of those breaks on the car you’re calling a tow truck.

    1. Justin Avatar

      Moving failure components to the vehicle might help with overall reliability, as the latch for instance is less likely to get damaged being in the vehicle instead of on the plug where it can be dropped and is subject to the damaging effects of the sun and rain.

    2. 1970351C2V Avatar

      @directorjustin  Maybe? Even if so, not comforting when the part breaks on your vehicle.

  8. Keiichi S Avatar
    Keiichi S

    CCS without validation vs NACS without validation will be a interesting study.

  9. Zyzzyx42 Avatar

    Finally, some critical thinking applied to the situation. and, IMO, a proper voice of reason. I’ve been trying to tell folks basically the same thing and… no one’s listening.

  10. Just Ray Avatar
    Just Ray

    I went with a Tesla because of NACS but I would have preferred the Ioniq5. I wonder how this decision will impact Tesla sales with other EV’s now having access to a real charging infrastructure.

  11. Jeff S Avatar
    Jeff S

    Wow! This video seems to be way more informative than anything Kyle has put out about this subject. Thank you for all of this, at the same time keeping it simple!

  12. Frank Coffey Avatar
    Frank Coffey

    This was a very informative show! I had no idea about the 3 phase issue in Europe. Great content explained in a way I could understand it.

  13. Justin Avatar

    I can always count on Alex to be the voice of reason.

  14. Mark Lewis Avatar
    Mark Lewis

    In my little corner of Europe (UK) the vast number of homes are single phase, though often public AC EVSEs are 3 phase. On single phase we are limited to 32A at 230/240v that maxes charging out to 7.6kW, we can’t have EVSEs with higher current, unlike the US. And most vehicles can’t take full advantage of 3 phase AC, for example VW MEB platform cars are limited to 11kW.

  15. bearhandfu Avatar

    It does improve, yes. Universal Infrastructure is key to the use of EVs, along with oncoming fusion technology, which will power the utility companies of the future. The next step will be additional charging stations and facilitating faster sessions, so stations do not bottleneck.

  16. brg2290 Avatar

    If the comparison is for connectors that provide both DC quick charging and level 1 / 2 charging, I believe a more valid visual comparison for size and bulk would be NACS connector to CCS (Combined Charging System allowing for DC and level 1 /2 charging in a single connector, same as NACS), as opposed to the J1772 connector, which does not have DC fast charging capability.

  17. Andy Kainz Avatar
    Andy Kainz

    I appreciate the sane and well reasoned thoughts. I don’t think using the Tesla plug is going to do anything to improve reliability in other networks. Honestly, I’d rather everyone use CCS2/mennekes but, I’m a weirdo 😸

  18. Tuomas Leone Avatar
    Tuomas Leone

    Thank you for this level headed take on this switchover. Some of the fanboy behavior over the NACS has just been too much. As long as it’s a real standard then I don’t care what the plug looks like, within reason. CCS1/2 are fine, not perfect, but fine. The same for NACS. The problem in the US as noted is station reliability and availability. We need the charge point operators (outside of Tesla) to address these issues. We need Telsa not to fail once the walled garden comes down. Let’s see where this goes, hopefully increased reliability and more chargers for all EV drivers regardless of charge port installed.

  19. David Lee Avatar
    David Lee

    Maybe, like in a gas station, have 3 or 4 different connectors for what your car needs?

  20. Dave Berry Avatar
    Dave Berry

    I see CCS vs. NACS in the same way as I see Android vs. Apple. Apple has full control of the “customer experience” — for better and for worse — but mostly for the better for most customers. Yes, the customer has less control of what apps are available, but that’s a sort of “dated” concept and the trade off (an “Apple-certification” that the app WILL work on one of their iPhones) and trade-off worth making for many. As an Android user (and retired Systems Engineer) I DO see the benefit for most customers — though, the Andriod-world has moved more toward this sort of standardization (Pixel and Samsung) while allowing the “rouge” Android phone to still exist.

    I — like I believe you, Alex — hope the NACS isn’t “dumbed-down” as it’s adopted by the current CCS-standard manufacturers (i.e. Android manufacturers). If EVs were like cell phones that are only charged using standard wall plugs and inexpensive power supplies, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion — if all people had easy access to charge their EVs overnight and no need to drive them on extended routes, we wouldn’t have need for standardization. But if EVs are to replace ICE vehicles, we do need to reliable charging network and, I believe, a standardized plug makes this an easier transitions. And, I do believe that Tesla has the best technology — and either they need to improve (vastly) their vehicle build-quality and/or become the supplier of said technology to other manufacturers — but, then that requires the other manufactures to admit that Tesla has “nailed it” on the technology.

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