What Is The NACS Charger?

NACS is an acronym for North America Charging Standard. The NACS Charger or connector is a fast-charging system for battery electric vehicles originally developed for Tesla vehicles. And for 11 years, it remained a Tesla exclusive.

However, it has been adopted by some major automobile brands in 2023, and the Society of Automotive Engineers has announced that it will be standardized for North America, meaning that many more EV makers and charging station manufacturers will likely follow in switching to NACS.

NACS charging connector

Types of charging connectors used for fast-charging electric vehicles

There are four major connector types for charging electric vehicles. They are:

  1. NACS Charger: Used by Tesla and an increasing number of others that include: Ford, GM, and Volvo.
  2. SAE Combined Charging System (CCS): Popular in North America and Europe, automobile brands that use the CCS connector include BMW, Daimler, FCA, Jaguar, Groupe PSA, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Ford, GM, Mazda, MG, Nissan, Polestar, Renault, Rivian, Tesla, Mahindra, Tata Motors, Volvo, and Volkswagen Group.
  3. CHArge de MOve (CHAdeMO): Popular in Japan, and used by Honda, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Nissan, Peugeot, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Mazda, Jaguar for their electric vehicles sold in that country.
  4. GB/T Charging System: This charging connector/standard is specific to China.

Differences between a CCS connector and a NACS connector

Differences between a CCS Charger and a NACS charger
NACS charger vs CCS: CCS connector (left) and NACS connector (right)

The major difference between a NACS connector and a CCS connector is the number of pins they have. NACS charging connectors have two pins, while CCS charging connectors have seven pins. The additional pins on CCS connectors allow for faster charging, as they enable both AC and DC charging. NACS connectors, on the other hand, are limited to DC charging only.

The NACS charger is half the size of the CCS connectors. It also has no moving parts, and Telsa claims that it is twice as powerful as CCS [1]. NACS to CCS adapters (and vice versa) are available in the market for car owners who want to be able to take advantage of both systems.

Which carmakers have adopted the NACS connector?

The number of automobile makers that have thrown in their lot with the NACS charging connector keeps growing. As at press time, it includes the following:

  • Tesla
  • Ford
  • GM (General Motors)
  • Aptera
  • Rivian
  • Volvo

Which charging station makers have adopted the NACS charging system?

  • ChargePoint,
  • ABB,
  • Blink Charging,
  • EVgo,
  • FLO,
  • Tritium
  • Wallbox

History of NACS connector

NACS connector and port

Back in 2012, the Model S sedan was the first car to be released with the new Tesla Charging Connector. A number of other EV makers went with the CCS connector, which Europe had adopted as the standard charging connector for battery-electric vehicles on that continent.

On November 11, 2022, Tesla announced that it was opening up its proprietary standard for use by non-Tesla vehicles and charging stations. The company also announced a plan to see their connector the charging standard for North America and changed its name from Tesla Charging Connector to North America Charging Standard (NACS). Note that NACS was not exactly a standard, as industry consensus is required to achieve that.

In 2022, Aptera (an EV startup) and Ford declared support for NACS. GM, Rivian, and Volvo followed suite in 2023.

In June 2023, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE International) announced a decision to standardize the NACS charger, meaning that any manufacturer will be able to produce NACS charging port on EVs and charging stations in North America. This was what Telsa was working towards, and this announcement meant that dream is coming true.

As at this time, there is no definite date when the SAE NACS charging standard will be ready, but it is safe to expect that it will be by 2025, when a number of major car brands intend to produce their first NACS-compliant electric vehicles.

References

  • Opening The North American Charging Standard (source)

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