Tesla Just Made Its Charging Plug An Open Standard: Why That's A Huge Deal

Tesla is opening the tech behind its electric car charging connector for everyone, which means rival EV makers can use the tech for their own car without having to spend millions of dollars on creating a custom standard of their own. To sell the benefits of its charging tech, Tesla claims that its in-house connector has "no moving parts, is half the size, and twice as powerful" when compared to the Combined Charging System (CCS) connectors that are a common sight at Electrify America stations, which boasts one of America's biggest electric car charging networks.

The Elon Musk-led company notes that the objective behind opening its EV charging connector is to hasten the transition toward sustainable mobility. Officially known as the North American Charging Standard NACS), Tesla's charging tech will be available for EV makers to adopt and implement on their cars. Touting the NACS system as "straightforward to adopt," Tesla says it is working with industry bodies to get the NACS tech codified as a public standard.

Tesla's charger has a few things going for it. It's small, convenient, energy-efficient, and fast. The company has already listed the design and specifications online for public downloads. However, it hasn't revealed the names — if any — of any rival EV brand that is willing to adopt the NACS charging system instead of the more widely used CCS standard. EV upstart Aptera recently urged Congress to adopt Tesla's charging tech as a standard for all EVs sold in the country. 

It's good, but the fate rests on rivals

According to the JD Power US Electric Vehicle Experience Public Charging Study, Tesla Superchargers provide the most satisfactory charging experience to customers. Plus, Tesla also appears to have cost advantage on its side. Application documents filed as part of the Texas Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Program (TxVEMP) revealed that a Tesla Supercharger location costs nearly one-fifth of the amount billed by competitors, (via Forbes). Plus, Tesla's Supercharger network is one of the biggest of its kind with a seamless juicing up and payment flow. It definitely helps that a huge chunk of electric cars sold in the US are made by Tesla, which makes a strong case for standardizing Tesla's charging tech.

Earlier this month, Tesla announced that it is opening the doors of its Supercharger network for non-Tesla EVs in Australia. Opening the charger connector design is the natural evolution towards making its tech — and by that extension, its electric cars — sound more appealing. Of course, it also paints a rather charitable environment-friendly image of Tesla among its EV rivals. The latest move also mirrors Tesla's patent open-source strategy that has been in place since 2014. Back then, Elon Musk claimed that the company can't make enough electric cars to mitigate the carbon crisis. In 2022, Tesla is touting similar benefits by pushing its proprietary charging connector architecture out in the open. It remains to be seen whether the likes of GM and Stellantis take up on Tesla's offer.