The White House confirmed that Tesla’s electric vehicle charging stations will be eligible for federal subsidies as long as the chargers will include a “standard connection” – in this case referring to Combined Charging System (CCS1).
The clarification, reported by Reuters, is an expected outcome as the US government would like to support the installation of new charging infrastructure for all electric vehicles, not only for those compatible with Tesla’s proprietary standard.
Up to date, Tesla’s Superchargers in North America are equipped with North American Charging Standard (NACS) plugs – the proprietary standard, which is promised to be opened for the industry.
Let’s recall that the industry is expected to get up to $7.5 billion to build new fast charging stations, along 7,500 miles of the nation’s highways. Considering how big Tesla‘s share is in the battery-electric vehicle (BEV) segment, a few billion might fall on the Supercharging network.
Tesla has a plan to open its famous Supercharging network to all BEVs, which already started under the non-Tesla Supercharger Pilot program. This requires compatibility with CCS1 vehicles, so the company is installing a Magic Dock built-in CCS1 adapter to its Superchargers.
As we understand, moving forward Tesla will install many new CCS1-compatible Superchargers to get access to the federal subsidies and offset some of the costs of the station (the subsidy is expected to be much higher than the cost of built-in CCS1 adapters). So far, about 10 stations were equipped with the Magic Dock.
The announcement comes at a hot time when the industry might switch from CCS1 to NACS, following Ford’s and General Motors’ announcement to use NACS in the future. The majority of all-electric cars in the US are compatible with NACS (because of Tesla’s massive market share), but the majority of models are compatible with CCS1 (because almost all manufacturers are using it).
From 2025, when Ford and GM join Tesla, things are expected to change because more and more models will be NACS-compatible. Meanwhile, the CCS1-compatible models will get access to Tesla Superchargers – either through NACS to CCS1 adapters (from 2024) or Magic Dock built-in CCS1 adapter at the sites (at select sites from March 2023).
If more EV manufacturers join NACS, the government requirement will become kind of obsolete/temporary, because the entire North American continent will have no choice but to stick to the solution with the biggest market share.
This all seems a bit unfortunate, that Superchargers will be equipped with potentially a fading CCS1 standard, but this might actually be a good thing – temporarily – to support the early adopters of CCS1-compatible EVs.
We guess that the entire topic might sound too complex for many consumers, but it seems that we are entering a transition period when there will be many new NACS/CCS1 charging stations so no one will be left behind, before moving solely to NACS. This reminds us of what was happening in Europe, when initially CHAdeMO dominated the market, but we saw a tsunami of dual-head DC fast chargers (CHAdeMO and the European CCS2). In the end, CCS2 become the ultimate solution in Europe.
At some point, public funding might be available only for new charging stations that are NACS-compatible (if the adoption of this solution will further spread).