One of Tesla’s biggest competitive advantages in North America has been its network of chargers which, for the most part, can only charge Tesla cars.
Tesla’s chargers outnumber so-called CCS chargers, the type used by Ford, General Motors, Audi, Rivian and others, by a factor of two to one, according to Tesla. Now, Tesla has invited other automakers to build cars with charging ports that can work with Tesla’s charging coordination and for other charging companies, such as EVGo, ChargePoint and Electrify America, to add Tesla-style plugs to their chargers.
It is not yet clear if any other company will accept Tesla at the show, or if any company will do so at all.
Tesla drivers have always been able to use CCS chargers with a simple adapter that fits into the charging plug. But actually having a Tesla charging cord – Tesla now owns Call it the North American Shipping Standard, or NACS, although this isn’t any kind of official government designation – it would make the process easier and wouldn’t require the purchase of an adapter.
For non-Tesla vehicles, being able to use the Tesla Supercharger – the company’s name for its fast chargers – was more complex and required, at best, a special adapter purchased from some other company. Even then, it may still not work due to differences in how cars communicate with the charger.
Driving a car with a Tesla-style NACS charging point would make this that much easier. But neither car manufacturers nor shipping companies, so far, have announced any plans to take Tesla into the show announced in a blog post on Friday.
The company and its CEO, Elon Musk, has previously talked about opening its charging network to non-Tesla-powered cars. The company began doing so in Europe where Tesla cars were equipped with a European version of industry-standard CCS-style charging ports.
On the same day, Tesla announced an offer to other companies to use its charging format, charging company EVGo announced a temporary offer for Tesla drivers with a CCS adapter to use EVGo fast charging stations without paying a monthly subscription fee.
Under EVGo’s current plan, called Autocharge+, Tesla drivers can use the EVGo phone app to connect and quickly start a charging session. Jonathan Levy, EVGo’s chief commercial officer, said the timing of EVGo’s promotional announcement was serendipitous, and EVGo currently has no plans to begin laying Tesla charging cables at its stations.
In the past, Tesla has offered to allow other companies to use various Tesla-patented technologies, but doing so means that companies must abide by Tesla’s “Patent Undertaking”.
Under the terms of this agreement, companies that wanted to use any of Tesla’s technology would have to agree not to sue Tesla for any kind of patent infringement or help any other company do so, making Tesla’s joint patent offering a two-way street. .
It’s unclear whether Tesla’s Patent Pledge pledge applies to the use of the NACS charging standard. Tesla, which generally does not respond to media questions, did not answer e-mailed questions about it.
Bill Veznik, managing editor of the Society of Automotive Engineers, or SAE, said he didn’t think automakers would accept Tesla on the offer. CCS is a standard developed by SAE together with the Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
“There is a lot of important work and collaboration in that,” he said.
Even Physnik admitted, however, that Tesla chargers tend to be more reliable and easier to use than other generic chargers.
In terms of chargers, Visnic said, they’ll likely want to keep their chargers with the CCS standard since Tesla already has a larger network of chargers and many Tesla drivers can easily use an adapter. (Some Tesla cars do not work on CCS inverters.)
But chargers may want to add these cables because they could bring in new customers, said Jim Bernice, CEO of National Car Charging, an equipment wholesaler in the electric vehicle charging industry. Burness has a Tesla as his personal vehicle.
“This will help owners of older Teslas cars, who will have to buy not only an adapter, but also pay for upgrading their car if the plug is there at the station,” he said.
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