EV Charging Standards

Tesla NACS vs CCS

Posted by dave on June 03, 2023

The North American Charging Standard (NACS) and the Combined Charging System (CCS1) are two types of charging standards for electric vehicles (EVs). They both facilitate the charging process but have different characteristics, compatibilities, and origins.

The NACS is an electric vehicle charging standard developed by Tesla, used on all North American market Tesla vehicles since 2012, and was opened for use to other manufacturers in 2022. Tesla's NACS has many advantages over CCS1. It can be used for both AC and DC charging potentially at up to 1 MW (assuming a voltage of up to 1,000 V) and has a very compact package, so both the plug and inlet are smaller and lighter. It has been noted that NACS is more space-efficient, lighter, and less costly than CCS1.

The CCS, on the other hand, is a universal standard for charging electric vehicles. It can use Combo 1 (CCS1) or Combo 2 (CCS2) connectors to provide power at up to 350 kilowatts (kW) (max 500 amps), although higher values are upcoming. These two connectors are extensions of the IEC 62196 Type 1 and Type 2 connectors, with two additional direct current (DC) contacts to allow high-power DC fast charging.

The two standards, however, have different levels of compatibility and adoption. Tesla has a proprietary charging network, which, as of November 2021, was the largest charging network in the US, with the next-largest only ten percent of the extent of Tesla's network. Tesla's NACS, however, suffers from the issue of lack of ability to charge for incompatible vehicles. CCS is supported by a large number of car manufacturers, including BMW, Daimler, FCA, Ford, Jaguar, General Motors, Groupe PSA, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, MG, Nissan, Polestar, Renault, Rivian, Tesla, Mahindra, Tata Motors, and Volkswagen Group.

In 2023, Tesla began to roll out their proprietary Magic Dock connector at select North American Supercharger locations, which allows for an EV to charge with either NACS or CCS1. Ford and Aptera have announced that they intend to use the NACS standard in the future, with Ford planning to incorporate the NACS system into their electric vehicles after 2025. If there is demand for NACS chargers, charger manufacturers may offer dual head chargers (NACS/CCS1), but by that time, there will be millions of CCS1 vehicles on the road and also thousands of CCS1 chargers.

In conclusion, while Tesla's NACS offers potential advantages in terms of size, weight, and cost, the CCS1 system is widely supported and adopted. The success of Tesla's NACS as a widely adopted standard will depend on how it is embraced by other manufacturers and how the charging infrastructure evolves to accommodate both NACS and CCS1.