Ask the Energy Coach: Is there an industry standard for EV charging connectors?

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Dear Energy Coach: I am buying an EV, and I want to know where I can charge it. Can I charge a non-Tesla at a Tesla charging station now? Why isn’t there an industry standard for this stuff?

Let’s start now and then look to the future. Yes: an industry standard is emerging, and it looks like it’s the North American Charging Standard, or NACS. That’s the EV charge connector developed by Tesla. There are several reasons for that, but it’s generally accepted to be easier to handle and to provide a faster charge cycle – thereby providing a better experience for you.

Most other EV manufacturers used the Combined Charging System (CCS) connector, but Ford is switching to NACS. Meanwhile, Tesla is modifying its Supercharger charging network so EV drivers can charge with non-Tesla connector adapters.

I agree with you that an industry standard is a good thing. Standards will enable more consumer choices of charging options. What I mean is that the tech is moving out of the wall and into the vehicle: bidirectional charging, which I discussed in the last issue, will become part of the charger, and not something the EV driver has to install separately. It’s similar with batteries. If EV manufacturers promote using batteries for uses other than driving – and they are starting to, with awareness around bidirectional charging and using EVs as backup power sources – then the battery, and the tech protecting it, is becoming part of the manufacturer’s scope.

So it’s not just about using the Supercharger network at the grocery store. It means that as the standard develops, you won’t need extra boxes installed at your house and all the additional charges associated with that. The box will be in the vehicle. And that opens up accessibility and choices, especially when bidirectional charging becomes prevalent.

One more thing. If you’re planning to install a Level 2 charger for that new EV, call WEC first to see if you can handle the additional load, or if you need to get on the list for upsizing your transformer. You can certainly charge with a Level 1 charger – which uses a standard 110 volt outlet – in the meantime.

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