Tesla charging stations have a Tesla plug. Most non-Tesla stations have the second plug, and some even have the third. In some years, Nissan built two different outlets into the Leaf EV to give drivers better odds of finding a charger they could use.
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It’s as if some gas tanks have a triangular slot for filling, others have a single square, and drivers can’t count on the ability to fill every gas station.
New technologies often face obstacles to their adoption. But the problems compound with adoption, so more users means more complaints. In the end, more complaints can mean more pressure to finally do something.
Tesla would like to do something.
Tesla introduces its technology to other automakers
On Friday, the company posted a proposal on its website – “we invite charging network operators and car manufacturers to put a Tesla charging connector and charging port” on their chargers and cars.
The post is signed with the name “Tesla Team.”
Tesla has renamed its plug to the North American Charging Standard (NACS). This step might be a bit premature, but it explains the proposal succinctly.
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The company has published charts of the NACS charging port for free, which may indicate that they are not even asking other companies to pay licensing fees to use the design.
The most common ingredients are a logical choice
There are good logical reasons why the rest of the industry would want to embrace Tesla’s design.
Tesla notes that its design is the most proven, “with more than a decade of use and 20 billion EVs shipping a mile to its name.” It is also mechanically simpler than the second most common connector, the Common Charging System (CCS).
We’ve driven many miles in electric vehicles and often find that the CCS charger requires two hands and is very heavy. The NACS Charger is much smaller and easy to operate even with one glove on.
There’s also the matter of simple numbers – Tesla operates the largest freight network in America. The company said it plans to open the network for use by other cars but did not say how it would make its chargers work with CCS plugs. The answer, perhaps, is that it won’t — it will only allow automakers to build Tesla plugs into their electric cars.
Several companies operate nationwide charging networks for electric vehicles that do not use Tesla cars, and most are planning to add a NACS plug to their chargers.
With millions of electric vehicles already on the road with CCS plugs, they aren’t going away anytime soon, even if the rest of the Tesla auto industry takes advantage of its offering. But the show will solve a real problem for electric car drivers, leading to a day when every new electric car can use every charger, just as every gas-powered car today can use every gas pump.