By Andrew Tarantola
When it comes to charging your EV in the US, Canada and Mexico, the only two connector types available aren’t cross-compatible. Tesla has its J1772 connector, which in the company’s defense was developed when Tesla was still the only EV game in town. Everybody else uses the current North American standard, the Combined Charging System (CCS). Tesla apparently hopes to upend that dynamic, announcing Friday that it is “opening our EV connector design to the world.”
Tesla is releasing its specs and production designs for the J1772 connector, which it is rebranding as the North American Charging Standard (NACS), in hopes that charging networks like Electrify America and Chargepoint will incorporate the company’s hardware in their stations. The NACS contains “no moving parts, is half the size, and twice as powerful,” as the alternative, Tesla argues.
The company presses that these networks should adopt its technology because, “NACS vehicles outnumber CCS two-to-one, and Tesla’s Supercharging network has 60 percent more NACS posts than all the CCS-equipped networks combined.” I mean, sure, but that’s kind of ignoring that those numbers are a direct result of the multi-year lead that Tesla held over its competition in coming to market, a capitalization lead that is rapidly shrinking as the industry’s marquee brands like GM, Honda and Audi pivot to electrification and Chinese makers like BYD dominate the EV space in Asia’s largest market.
Tesla claims that “network operators already have plans in motion to incorporate NACS at their chargers,” without specifying which networks are doing so and at what scale. The company “looks forward to future electric vehicles incorporating the NACS design and charging at Tesla’s North American Supercharging and Destination Charging networks.”
We can only speculate as to why Tesla has decided that right now — even as Elon Musk sinks faster than Artax into the quicksands of Twitter ownership — is the best tiime to open up their standard to the rest of the industry. Tesla, and now Twitter too, does not employ a public-facing PR team, so your guess is as good as any blue check’s.