The New Tesla / NACS Charging Connector Explained – The More We Learn, The Less We Know

The more companies we speak to, the less we seem to understand about the brand-new NACS charging requirement in North America. Let's dive into the rumors, into the cold hard facts, and find out why NACS isn't actually the Tesla charging basic you're considering: It's basically CCS variation 3.0, ish. Kind of. Sort of.

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20 responses to “The New Tesla / NACS Charging Connector Explained – The More We Learn, The Less We Know”

  1. EV Buyers Guide Avatar
    EV Buyers Guide

    Quick note: I didn’t dive too deeply into the CHAdeMO adapter since it’s not really relevant to NACS, but the Tesla-CHAdeMO adapter isn’t a “dumb” adapter like the Tesla-CCS adapter, there’s additional logic built into the connector because of the variances in CAN protocol Tesla and CHAdeMO use and because Tesla doesn’t provide all the same signaling pins on their connector so the adapter has to convert them and then signal the CHAdeMO station on those signaling pins. There are some analogue sense lines that CHAdeMO uses that Tesla does not.

  2. Hans Avatar

    You learn something every day, never knew that Tesla based the DCFC tech on their connector on CHAdeMO but it does explain why they had an adapter for CHAdeMO and not CCS early on.

  3. Hans Avatar

    I think it is a safe bet to say that a charging network like EA will simply add the J-3400 connector to their charging stations and keep the CCS signalling. The old Tesla standard has not been released as an open standard, so you would need to get into a, probably expensive, licensing agreement with Tesla to make it work.

    And for people who would point to the open patents pledge, I recommend to read up as to why that does not work, why it was a PR stunt and what the difference is between a communication standard and a patent.

  4. Mike Avatar

    I think it’s fair to say buying a car from a company who’s going to switch to NACS from now- until 2025 calendar year is understanding your DC fast charge capability will be inferior vs if you waited

  5. JonathanH Avatar

    Great video! Thanks for digging into this. For these type of videos it might make sense to switch to fixed focus as the camera jumps focus quite a bit.

  6. rik999 Avatar

    Where is BMW in this mix?

    1. tjs114 Avatar

      From MotorTrend article “The Great NACS Migration: Who is Switching to Tesla’s Charging Port?”

      BMW Group
      We reached out to the BMW Group—which includes Alpina, Mini, and Rolls Royce—and asked if it had plans on joining the NACS migration. A representative responded with the following statement:

      “The comprehensive expansion of charging infrastructure is one of the critical keys to widespread EV adoption. We are actively monitoring the ongoing discussions and developments and will take the right steps in due course to ensure a seamless EV journey for our customers.” Not yet!

  7. Gary Clark Avatar
    Gary Clark

    Excellent video and thank goodness somebody finally divorced the Tesla NACS published standard from access to all Superchargers in North America. One is a physical standard, and the other is physical access to charging. The agreements these manufacturers have, and what exact access Elon will give is yet to be seen. Adapters have been forbidden on EA. Currently that only affects Tesla owners using non-Tesla made adapters that aren’t liquid cooled and can damage EA’s equipment. Tesla doesn’t make DC FAST CHARGING ADAPTERS yet and for good reason. They lock their DC Adapters to their equipment for good reason. The lawyers now have footing and the chip will now begin to fall. Adapters will most certainly be a pain point in the next decade which exactly why current smart charging providers and ones coming soon have all announced two plugs and attorney’s will insist on better notifications of banned non-liquid cooled (none will be cooled) adapters. These are the very evident proofs that the wild west is having a toll on equipment regardless of what color the charger is, and who made it. 20:01

  8. Right Lane Hog Avatar
    Right Lane Hog

    Alex, What are you going to tell us next – the more things change, the less they remain the same? 🤔😉

  9. Jonathan Rivas Avatar
    Jonathan Rivas

    Please turn off auto-focus on the camera 🙏

  10. godofdun Avatar

    On one hand a couple more years with some uncertainty won’t be good for adoption rate, on the other it will be better to move the plug over to being a real honest to goodness standard.

  11. John Apel Avatar
    John Apel

    EV charging in North America is more confusing and uncertain than ever.

  12. David D. Oliver Avatar
    David D. Oliver

    Great info. Thanks Alex. This sheds so much light. I remember a recent video either from Monroe or Out of Spec where I believe a ford or Stellantis rep mentioned that Tesla will be manufacturing the adapters.

    I took that to mean that even though Ford will provide an adapter or MB will provide an adapter and so on, Tesla would have made them all.

  13. Darren Orange Avatar
    Darren Orange

    They are still not offering the upgrade for CCS for Model 3 and Model Y.

  14. Bill Johnson Avatar
    Bill Johnson

    Alex – regarding future Tesla vehicles possibly removing CAN communication support, there is one not so well known thing about how all that works. Tesla does not only use CAN to talk to the SuperChargers, but they also use it to talk to their Level 2 AC charging equipment. The mobile charge cord and wall connector also speak Tesla CAN (single wire, modulated on the J1772 pilot line). The car speaks to the charger and can read it’s serial number, and even which pigtail plug type is being used (mobile connector). This is done for detailed diagnostic logging – something Tesla does better than most OEMs. I do not know if the bran new Tesla Universal Wall connector works the same way, but would suspect it does. It is the CAN communication that fouls up communication with the eGMP cars using Tesla level 2 equipment (via TeslaTap). Tesla AC charging equipment will speak J1772 in addition to CAN, but something about that fallback has caused problems with eGMP cars with at least older software that didn’t tolerate not just strictly J1772 – having to plug/un-plug/plug, or power cycle the car to get it to AC charge.

    So anyway, because of the CAN comms with the Tesla AC equipment, I would not expect Tesla to remove CAN from future vehicles.

    1. N K Avatar
      N K

      CAN has severe bandwidth limitations. You’re not supposed to go over 70% bus load or lower priority message will essentially not be broadcast for a long time. As you move up in speed up to 2MB/s with CAN FD the Physical layer requirements begin to get expensive with shielded cable and shorter bus and branch lengths. It makes more sense to use something like T1(formerly Broad-R) which is a 2 wire bus, no shielding necessary, but has Full Duplex 100mbps bandwidth. It does require a costly T1 Ethernet Switch, or carefully planned computer modules with T1 connections for an ad-hoc configuration. They would likely connect T1(Broad-R) as major trunks between major modules of the car that have high bandwidth requirements. But retain a slower 500k CAN bus to sensors. Perhaps retain a single 500K bus as a fallback redundancy to slow and stop the car in case of T1 failure as a safety measure.

    2. Bill Johnson Avatar
      Bill Johnson

      @N K Everything you said it correct, but not applicable here. Cars have multiple CAN buses, and the Tesla charging CAN bus is dedicated to only communication between the charge port controller and the car. Perfect for exchanging the limited information that Tesla does over this interface. PLC is quite complex in comparison.

  15. Henry Pack Avatar
    Henry Pack

    Given how governments are mandating cleaner cars to combat climate change I am, very reluctantly, coming to the conclusion that an EV charging standard needs to be codified into law as well. While there are many gasoline brands out there, no ICE car owner has to worry that Brand X gasoline won’t work in their car, or that the gas nozzle won’t fit into their vehicle for fueling. This is all due to standards set by law. Letting the free market sort this out will take some time – even this new NACS standard has not yet been adapted by many large car manufacturers and so, while new EV models continue to roll out, I grow concerned that we will hear more and more stories about folks being stranded somewhere as their car ran out of juice with no place to charge them. We are trying to solve a very important problem here with climate change and we can’t keep fuddling around with acronyms and standards while Rome (and everywhere else) burns.

  16. James Derrick Avatar
    James Derrick

    Thanks Alex, as always great video. Love the technical details.

  17. Kenji Avatar

    Thanks for this coverage. Here i was all optimistic that this convergence would make things less confusing.

    But if anyones read the xkcd about new standards I should’ve known better 😆. Its USB type-C all over again

    Thanks for making it so easy to understand

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