The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International just announced that it will standardize the tesla aka NACS (North American Charging Standard) connector. Tesla Charge Connector format is now becoming the US standard. Back in May, Ford was the first to agree to team up with Tesla and adopt the NACS plug, then the dominos started falling, with several other automakers recently announcing agreements with Tesla.
Tesla to Open Existing EV Chargers to Non-Tesla Customers
Tesla announced plans to make it’s charging network more inclusive by opening 7,500 stations to other EVs by late 2024.
Charging Up: Understanding the Different Charging Levels
Tesla’s commitment is slated to include opening access to 3,500 new and existing Superchargers along highway corridors and also offering 4,000 slower chargers at locations like hotels and restaurants. These different types of chargers contain different components and different levels of charging. As an EV driver, it’s important to understand what each level offers.
Level 1 Chargers
Level 1 EV chargers are most commonly found in older buildings. They utilize a regular 110-volt outlet, similar to a standard wall plug. Because of this lower voltage they take a long time to charge a vehicle battery – anywhere from 3 to 30 hours. An overnight charge would provide drivers with a 30 to 40 mile range – often enough for a daily commute to and from work.
Level 2 Chargers
Level 2 EV chargers use a 240-volt outlet. This higher power output makes them a more popular choice. As a cost-effective option, these level 2 chargers are currently the most common type of chargers found in residential and commercial settings, such as parking garages and shopping malls. These stations usually take approximately 5 hours to fully charge an EV.
DC Fast Chargers (DCFC)
DC Fast Chargers are proprietary, brand-specific chargers. There are currently three types of DCFC systems on the market – Tesla, SAE Combined Charging System (CCS), and “CHArge de Move” (CHAdeMO). DCFC are much less prevalent than level 2 chargers as they are significantly more expensive to install. DCFC chargers use a 480-volt outlet and allow for a quick charge passing a direct current to flow directly into the battery without having to convert it first from an alternate current. It’s what sets them apart from level 1 and level 2 chargers. DC Fast Chargers have the ability to fully charge an EV in under an hour.
Tesla’s proprietary Superchargers are currently the fastest EV chargers on the market. According to the company, these “high-speed vehicle chargers can add up to 322 miles of range in just 15 minutes.” This makes recharging a similar experience to stopping at a gas station to refuel.
Opening Up Tesla’s EV Charging Network
Because Tesla’s DCFC and Superchargers feature proprietary, brand-specific systems and components, Tesla needs to retrofit its existing network to make it compatible for charging other brand EVs. Tesla has not officially committed to adopting CCS yet – the federally backed charging standard. But the company would be required to do so in order to qualify for federal funds to subsidize the cost of converting it’s charging network.
But the company does appear to be moving in that direction. Earlier this month, CNET reported that “Tesla has retrofitted select stations with a ‘Magic Dock,’ a CCS1 adapter that is placed on top of Tesla’s NACS plug that enables non-Tesla EVs to charge at a maximum rate of 250kW.”
Tesla’s Plan to Expand its Supercharger Network
“Tesla has 17,711 Superchargers, accounting for about 60% of the total U.S. fast chargers,” according to a recent REUTERS article on the topic. And according to the White House, “Tesla plans to more than double its full nationwide network of superchargers.”
In response to a Tweet, Elon Musk Tweeted, “Thank you, Tesla is happy to support other EVs via our Supercharger network.”