The CCS organization CharIN has taken a significant step in the standardization process for the North American Charging Standard (NACS) by establishing a task force. Recently, a preliminary list of participating companies was published, revealing the involvement of several prominent car manufacturers. However, one notable player, Tesla, is notably absent from the list, despite being a CharIN member and already utilizing the CCS standard for its electric vehicles in Europe.
The preliminary list, which includes 51 companies, features car manufacturers such as BMW, Ford, GM, Hyundai-Kia, JLR, Lucid, Mercedes-Benz, Stellantis, Toyota, Vinfast, and Volvo Car. Notably, the Volkswagen Group is represented through its subsidiary Electrify America, responsible for charging infrastructure. CharIN's announcement of the workgroup in mid-June sparked anticipation in the industry.
While Tesla's absence from the list might raise eyebrows, sources indicate that CharIN and Tesla continue to engage in close communication regarding the US manufacturer's participation. The phrasing used in CharIN's LinkedIn release suggests ongoing dialogue: “Following up on CharIN's invitation to all stakeholders and industry experts to join an open task force, we are happy to provide an update on the registrations for the NACS task force.”
Last November, Tesla unveiled the design of its proprietary Supercharger connector for North America, referring to it as the “North American Charging Standard” or NACS. While car manufacturers and charging network operators were encouraged to adopt Supercharger plugs and sockets, the initiative initially seemed to fade into the background. However, recent developments have reignited interest, as Ford, GM, and Rivian announced their intentions to rely on Tesla's charging system for their future North American models. Hyundai is also reportedly considering the NACS system.
This renewed interest in Tesla's Supercharger system, widely utilized in the United States, has prompted CharIN to reevaluate its stance. Following Ford's announcement in May, CharIN stated that the global EV industry “cannot thrive with several competing charging systems,” emphasizing that the CCS standard provides international interoperability and future scalability beyond public DC fast charging. CharIN further acknowledged the interest of some of its North American members in adopting the NACS form factor after GM's announcement in June. The organization reiterated that proper standardization requires undergoing a standard development process.
The establishment of the CCS task force raises questions about the future of NACS. Although it is not yet recognized as a standard, certain charging hardware manufacturers and charge point operators in North America have already committed to retrofitting their products or providing NACS connections as an option. Together with the forthcoming EV models from Tesla, Ford, GM, and Rivian, NACS could potentially gain widespread industry adoption even before completing CharIN's certification process, which typically takes several years.
In a noteworthy move, the state of Washington aims to mandate the implementation of Tesla's NACS charging system for receiving funding. Following Texas, Washington becomes the second state to pursue such a plan, with the intention of maximizing accessibility for various vehicle makes and models. Tonia Buell, the alternative fuels program manager at the Washington State Department of Transportation, stated, “It hasn't necessarily been tested and certified for other auto manufacturers, so we want to make sure it's going to work, but we are planning to require NACS at our state-funded and federally-funded sites in the future.” The state is expected to initiate the proposal process in the autumn, signaling a growing interest in NACS adoption.
As the CCS task force continues its work, the industry eagerly awaits further developments that could shape the future of charging standards in North America. The engagement of major car manufacturers, coupled with state-level initiatives like Washington's, underscores the importance of standardization efforts to ensure interoperability and widespread accessibility for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.