North America has a fragmentation problem when it comes to EV charging. Tesla’s making a bid to solve it and cement the advantages of its Supercharger network — all while EV buyers feel the uncertainty.
The state of electric vehicle charging in North America is way too much like smartphone charging wars — but focused on much more expensive hardware. Like USB-C, the Combined Charging System (CCS, Type 1) plug is widely adopted by almost every manufacturer and charging network, while, like Apple and Lightning, Tesla uses its own plug but with wider availability across its Supercharger network.
But as Apple is forced away from Lightning, Tesla is on a different path where it’s opening up the connector, renaming it to North American Charging Standard (NACS), and pushing it to become the USB-C of electric vehicles in the region. And it might just work: Ford and GM lined up as the first two automakers to adopt the NACS port, which is also now being recognized by the automotive standards organization SAE International.
Europe solved this by forcing all companies to use CCS2 (Tesla included), while EV owners in the US, for years, have dealt with fragmented charging networks requiring different accounts, apps, and/or access cards. And depending on whether you’re driving a Tesla Model Y, a Kia EV6, or even a Nissan Leaf with the ailing CHAdeMO connector, you’d better hope the station you stop at has the cable you need — and is operational.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is leaving out a nice pool of $7.5 billion to give every major fast-charging network from ChargePoint to Electrify America the chance to build reliable EV infrastructure.
North America can become a great and convenient place to own an electric vehicle, but how long will that take? Find out by reading all the news about electric vehicle charging right here, so come back and plug in often.