Kentucky Sets Precedent by Mandating Tesla’s Charging Plug for Electric Vehicle Charging Companies
Kentucky has taken a pioneering step in the electric vehicle (EV) charging industry by becoming the first state to make it mandatory for charging companies to include Tesla’s charging plug. This requirement is crucial for these companies to secure federal funds from a state program aimed at electrifying highways. The move, effective as of Friday, follows similar plans shared by Texas and Washington, which also stipulate the inclusion of Tesla’s “North American Charging Standard” (NACS) and the Combined Charging System (CCS) for eligibility to receive federal funding.
This significant development in the adoption of Tesla’s charging plug gained momentum when Ford announced in May that it would incorporate Tesla’s charging technology in its future EV models. General Motors quickly followed suit, leading to a cascading effect. As a result, several automakers such as Rivian and Volvo, along with charging companies like FreeWire Technologies and Volkswagen’s Electrify America, have expressed their commitment to adopting the NACS standard. SAE International, a renowned standards organization, has also declared its intention to establish an industry standard configuration for NACS within the next six months.
While the NACS trend gains traction in the private sector, certain factions within the EV charging industry are seeking to moderate its rapid growth. A group comprising EV charging companies like ChargePoint and ABB, clean energy organizations, and even the Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) has written to the Texas Transportation Commission, urging for more time to thoroughly assess and standardize Tesla’s connectors before implementing the proposed mandate. Their concerns revolve around ensuring the safety and interoperability of Tesla’s connectors through proper testing and certification. However, despite these reservations, it is evident that the NACS standard is gaining acceptance, especially among major automakers and charging companies. Consequently, it is likely that other states will follow Kentucky’s lead.
California, as Tesla’s birthplace and home to the automaker’s former and current headquarters, as well as its “engineering HQ,” and being at the forefront of Tesla and EV sales nationwide, may soon adopt a similar requirement. However, no official comments have been made by the state’s Department of Transportation (DOT), and California’s Department of Energy has not responded to inquiries seeking further information.
Kentucky’s request for proposals for its EV charging program specifies that each charging port must be equipped with a CCS connector and have the capability to connect and charge vehicles with NACS-compliant ports.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation mandated that charging companies must have CCS plugs, considered an international charging standard, to qualify for federal funds allocated for the deployment of 500,000 public EV chargers by 2030. The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program (NEVI) has earmarked $5 billion for states to achieve this objective.