Tesla's NACS connector to become standard across North America

Tesla’s NACS connector to become standard across North America

SAE International, a global organization committed to advancing mobility knowledge and solutions based in Warrendale, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., announced that it will standardize Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector. This will ensure that any supplier or manufacturer will be able to use, manufacture, or deploy the NACS connector on electric vehicles (EVs) and at charging stations across North America.

Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Rivian, and a number of EV charging companies have recently announced plans to adopt the NACS connector through adaptors or future product offerings. Volvo Cars is the latest, and the first European car manufacturer, to announce that it will install Tesla’s charging port in electric cars for the North American market from 2025. 

At present, nearly all automakers other than Tesla use what is called a Combined Charging System (CCS) connector. From an electrical perspective, there are notable differences between NACS and CCS. For example, CCS has separate pins for delivering alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) power while NACS leverages the same pin for both AC and DC.

Tesla’s Superchargers are coveted by other automakers because it has more direct current fast-charging plugs in the U.S. than any other network, and its stations are in prime locations along the freeway. In the U.S., Tesla has 1,797 Supercharger stations and more than 19,000 plugs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Nationwide, there are about 54,000 public charging stations, with more than 136,000 plugs, according to the DOE. While most are slower Level 2 chargers that can take up to eight hours to get a battery up to a full charge, the network of DC fast chargers is growing.

The standardization process is the next step to establish a consensus-based approach for maintaining NACS and validating its ability to meet performance and interoperability criteria. The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation was instrumental in fostering the SAE-Tesla partnership and expediting plans to standardize NACS—an important step in building an interoperable national charging network that will work for all EV drivers. This initiative was also announced by The White House on June 27.

“Standardizing the NACS connector will provide certainty, expanded choice, reliability and convenience to manufacturers and suppliers and, most of all, increase access to charging for consumers,” said Frank Menchaca, president, Sustainable Mobility Solutions, an innovation arm of SAE affiliate, Fullsight, which focuses on initiatives that lead to net zero transportation throughout mobility sectors.

The new SAE NACS connector standard will be developed on an expedited time frame and is one of several key initiatives to strengthen the North American EV charging infrastructure. This includes SAE-ITC’s Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for cyber-secure charging. In close cooperation with National Labs, SAE also is contributing to reliability design for the national ChargeX consortium.

“Taken together,” said David L. Schutt, CEO, SAE International, “these efforts will contribute substantially to SAE’s commitment to secure, clean and connected transportation, accessible to everyone. We’re delighted to do our part in aligning the excellent efforts of industry with those of government entities like the Joint Office to advance sustainable mobility on a national level.”