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  • Katya Skog

Understanding the North American Charging Standard: A Guide for Electric Vehicle Owners

The North American Charging Standard (NACS), also known as the Tesla charging standard, is an electric vehicle (EV) charging connector system developed by Tesla, Inc. It has been used on all North American market Tesla vehicles since 2012. The standard is now being standardized as SAE J3400.

In November 2022, it was opened for use by other manufacturers. Between May and October 2023, almost every other vehicle manufacturer announced that their electric vehicles in North America will be equipped with the NACS charge port starting from 2025. Additionally, several electric vehicle charging network operators and equipment manufacturers have also announced plans to add NACS connectors.

EV charging standards around the world

What is NACS?

In 2012, Tesla developed a proprietary charging connector for the Tesla Model S, which it used on all its subsequent EVs. Tesla also built the Supercharger network across the US and other countries where it sold its cars.

In November 2022, Tesla renamed its proprietary charging connector "North American Charging Standard" (NACS) and made the specs available to other EV manufacturers. Currently, Tesla's Supercharging network has 60% more DC fast-chargers than all CCS-equipped networks combined, making it a great benefit to access. In June 2023, SAE standardized the NACS connector as SAE J3400.

Physical and technical differences between charging standards

NACS and CCS1 differ significantly in charging interface size. NACS uses the same pins for AC and DC charging, making it smaller. This affects architecture and wiring, including high-voltage systems. Control electronics are needed to safely switch modes via harness splicing, fusing, contactors, or switching in the onboard charger.

These differences, of course, mean that either the vehicle or the charger has to be compatible with one another by the vehicle and charger manufacturers switching to NACS or using an adapter. Just like Tesla launched their CCS Combo 1 Adapter for allowing Tesla vehicles to charge at North American CCS locations, vehicle manufacturers relying on CCS1 have already announced that NACS-to-CCS1 adapters will become available.

Availability in A Better Routeplanner

As of today, NACS is available for all vehicle models whose manufacturers have announced they'll adopt NACS. All you'll need to do to simulate a plan with NACS chargers is select NACS among 'charger types' in settings, and you're good to go.

In reality, however, you will need either a vehicle that is already compatible with NACS or a NACS-to-CCS1 adapter, which has yet to become available to the public.

As we can see in the plan below, accessing Tesla Superchargers by enabling NACS does make the planner include quite a few Tesla chargers in planning.

Try it out today to see how access to the Tesla charger network will impact your EV road trips!

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