Electrify Canada, Volvo, Polestar among the latest NACS adopters
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EV Charging
Jun 30, 2023
Mehanaz Yakub

These companies join a list that includes FLO, ChargePoint, Ford, GM and Rivian, as the rush to adopt Tesla’s North American Charging Standard gains more momentum

Photo: Electrify Canada

These companies join a list that includes FLO, ChargePoint, Ford, GM and Rivian, as the rush to adopt Tesla’s North American Charging Standard gains more momentum

Electrify Canada is adopting Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) into its electric vehicle charging stations, according to an announcement from the network operator on June 29.

The Volkswagen-owned charging company is one of a handful of charging networks and automakers who this week joined the growing wave of converts to incorporate NACS into their product offerings.

Electrify Canada, along with its U.S. counterpart, Electrify America, will incorporate NACS connectors into their existing and future stations by 2025. Both will also continue to use the Combined Charging System (CCS-1) connectors throughout their network.

While the move is clearly a response to the growing shift in North America to offer or use the NACS charging format, the company’s press release only says it is making the move as part of its commitment to broaden charging solutions for EV drivers and support the growth of the EV industry.

“We look forward to continuing to support industry-wide standards that increase vehicle interoperability and streamline public charging,” said Robert Barrosa, president and CEO of Electrify America.

Electrify Canada operates over 850 DC fast charging stations and around 4,000 individual chargers in the United States and Canada. The chargers have speeds between 150 kW and 350 kW.

The network has previously told Electric Autonomy that it wants to add  100 charging stations with 500 chargers  across nine provinces by 2026.

Blink Charging, which has a modest charger footprint in Canada, also announced this week that it will start manufacturing NACS DC fast chargers by October 2023 and will include NACS plugs in its Level 2 chargers.

Earlier this month, FLO and ChargePoint made similar commitments to incorporating NACS ports into their stations in the future. Both charging operators have a widespread charging network across Canada.

More automakers join NACS

The list of automakers announcing their support for the NACS connector grew this week as well, with Volvo and Polestar, which Volvo owns, joining the parade. Officially, Volvo became the first European car manufacturer with its announcement on June 27. Two days later, Polestar signed an agreement with Tesla to adopt the connector.

Ford, of course, was the first big-name automaker to announce its support for the NACS connector. Two weeks after its announcement in late May, General Motors was next to jump on the bandwagon. Last week, Rivian made the switch.

Tesla’s arrangements with each of the automakers are similar. By 2025, all future EVs from these car companies will incorporate NACS ports in their North American EVs.

Starting in early 2024, owners of the current models of Rivian R1T and R1S, Volvo XC40, C40 Recharge, EX30 and EX90, along with Polstar’s and GM’s entire range of EVs and Ford’s Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning and E-Transit will be able to use Tesla’s Supercharger network in Canada and the U.S. Access will be possible through the use of an adapter.

Where NACS under consideration

News that other automakers will join this group seems imminent. Late this week, for example, reports broke that Volkswagen Group is considering adding the plug type to its future vehicles.

“Volkswagen Group and its brands are currently evaluating the implementation of the Tesla North American Charging Standard (NACS) for its North American customers,” says a spokesperson for Volkswagen in an email to Electric Autonomy. “Volkswagen Group is actively discussing opportunities with Tesla to optimize NACS performance and value for our customers.”

Brands under Volkswagen Group include VW, Audi and Porsche.

During Hyundai’s recent Investor Day, meanwhile, president Jaehoon Chang mentioned that the company is considering joining the NACS bandwagon. The decision will be based on customer interest. However, the company is also hesitant because the Tesla Supercharger network currently does not support faster charging rates that Hyundai’s electric vehicles are capable of.

In addition, Stellantis has said it is “evaluating” the NACS standard before making a decision on adoption.

Earlier this week, Stellantis launched Free2move Charge, a 360-degree charging and energy management solution ecosystem for EV drivers in North America. In the future Free2move will open in Europe.

The main goal of Free2move Charge is “make it easy to Always Be Charged,” says Stellantis.  

The ecosystem aims to assist customers by offering support in various areas. This includes home charging installation, financing, and warranties. For businesses, comprehensive charging and energy services are provided, such as early support, cost estimation, optimizing charging infrastructure, installation, maintenance and access to public charging.

Customers on the go will gain access to a wide network of public charging points through partnerships across North America. And, eventually, access to other features like Plug and Charge, reservations, loyalty programs, subscriptions and more.

Standardization in progress

While automakers and charging station operators make decisions around adopting the NACS connector, SAE International, a U.S.-based global standards developer and professional association, this week announced it would be standardizing the Tesla NACS connector “on an expedited timeframe.”

The move to standardize the plug “will ensure that any supplier or manufacturer will be able to use, manufacture, or deploy the NACS connector on electric vehicles and at charging stations across North America,” says the SAE press release.

“The standardization process is the next step to establish a consensus-based approach for maintaining NACS and validating its ability to meet performance and interoperability criteria. “

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