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NACS EV Buyer's Guide: How to Find the Best NACS Home Charger

NACS EV Buyer's Guide: How to Find the Best NACS Home Charger

The electric vehicle market is slowly working towards inclusivity, and it all starts with the charging standard. For the longest time, most electric vehicles in North America have used the J1772 plug as the EV charger of choice--except Tesla. Tesla has its own proprietary connector--the Supercharger--which is the first charging network to expand across the country. This expansive coverage, reliability, and simple interface have long been a source of envy for other electric car owners.

However, Tesla is positioning its Supercharger as the new EV charging standard in North America with the release of its design to third-party manufacturers in 2022. Prior to this, the company has tested non-Tesla EV charging in select European cities. In mid-2023, major carmakers Ford and GM announced their allegiance to the Supercharger even before its standardization by SAE International. While this official standardization is just a few months away, the EV industry is already referring to the Supercharger as the North American Charging Standard (NACS).

What is NACS?

The North American Charging Standard (NACS), also known as the Tesla charging standard or the Tesla Supercharger network, is a charging connector system developed by Tesla Motors. It upgrades existing Tesla chargers with a new protocol designed to improve compatibility and interoperability among various EVs.

Unlike the old connectors that used CAN bus communication, NACS uses power-line communication (PLC). Additionally, NACS follows the ISO 15118 protocol, which is also used by Combined Charging System (CCS) connectors. This means it can work with any CCS-enabled EV, allowing different vehicle brands to use the same charging stations easily.

Which electric vehicles currently use NACS?

Earlier this year, Tesla officially opened its Supercharging network to non-Tesla EVs by introducing the "Superchargers Open to NACS" filter on the Tesla app. Ford was the first automaker to take advantage of this with the release of its NACS adapter. In March, Ford started the waitlist for a complimentary adapter to its customers with the first batch shipped weeks after. Rivian followed suit with its own adapter. However, both automakers encountered an overwhelming number of registrants, causing delays in shipping. Third-party NACS to CCS adapters like Lectron's Vortex Plug, which started pre-selling in the latter part of 2023, could fill this void.

By 2025, major EV manufacturers like Ford, Audi, and BMW are expected to start using NACS ports in their vehicles. For the complete list of EVs shifting to NACS, refer to this article. This widespread adoption shows a move towards a common charging standard that can serve multiple brands, making the EV charging process simpler and more efficient. The NACS is a big step forward in EV charging technology, promoting better compatibility and paving the way for more convenient and extensive charging infrastructure.

What charging networks support NACS

As of writing, only the Tesla Supercharging network has native NACS support for both AC and DC fast charging. However, J1772 EVs can use any Tesla Wall Connector, Mobile Connector, or Destination Charger with a Tesla to J1772 adapter.

Tesla's Supercharger network is one of the most extensive and well-established charging networks globally, with nearly 2,000 Supercharger stations and over 17,000 chargers across the United States. These stations are strategically located along major travel routes, enabling Tesla vehicle owners to undertake long-distance journeys confidently. Additionally, Tesla has partnered with other companies to integrate the Tesla Destination Charger network, which is installed in various locations such as hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers.

In June 2023, Electrify America announced its plan to add NACS connectors to its fast-charging network in both the United States and Canada. By 2025, Electrify America aims to offer Tesla plug options at both existing and future charging stations. This initiative is part of Electrify America's commitment to promoting vehicle interoperability and simplifying public charging. The network will continue to support the Combined Charging System (CCS-1) connector while introducing the NACS plug type to accommodate automakers integrating NACS charge ports.

In July 2023, BMW Group, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, and Stellantis NV announced a joint venture to create a new charging network. This partnership plans to install at least 30,000 high-powered charge points in urban and highway locations across North America, accessible to all EV customers and offering both CCS and NACS connectors. The first of these charging stations is scheduled to open in the summer of 2024, significantly expanding the charging infrastructure and providing EV owners with more accessibility and flexibility.

What current EV drivers need to know

For current EV drivers, the shift towards the North American Charging Standard (NACS) will have varying impacts depending on the type of vehicle they own.

If you own a Tesla, the transition will likely make charging more convenient. As more charging networks start to adopt the NACS, Tesla owners will have access to a greater number of charging locations across the country. This expansion will enhance the flexibility and ease of long-distance travel for Tesla drivers.

For those who own a non-Tesla EV with a CCS port, the immediate impact will be minimal. Initially, most third-party charging networks will continue to support the CCS standard as they gradually introduce NACS connectors. This transition will occur in phases, meaning that some charging stations will feature NACS connectors while others will retain CCS connectors.

As the adoption of NACS becomes more widespread, non-Tesla EV owners may encounter charging stations equipped only with NACS connectors. In these situations, using an adapter will become necessary to charge your vehicle. Some charging stations might provide adapters, but in other cases, you may need to have your own adapter to ensure you can use the available charging infrastructure.

Overall, while Tesla owners can look forward to increased convenience, non-Tesla EV drivers should prepare for a gradual shift that may eventually require charging adapters, to maintain access to a broad range of charging options.

What this means for Tesla drivers

For Tesla drivers, the widespread adoption of the NACS brings several key benefits and changes.

Firstly, the primary advantage is the increased accessibility to charging stations. As more third-party charging networks adopt the NACS, Tesla owners will have access to a significantly larger number of charging locations across the country. This means that long-distance travel will become even more convenient, as the network of compatible charging stations expands beyond Tesla's Supercharger network.

Secondly, the integration of NACS into various charging networks will likely reduce wait times at charging stations. With more available stations, Tesla drivers will have more options, potentially decreasing congestion at busy Supercharger locations. This improvement in infrastructure could lead to a smoother and more efficient charging experience.

Additionally, the move towards a unified charging standard can foster greater interoperability within the EV community. This shift could result in increased collaboration between different automakers and charging network providers, further enhancing the overall EV charging ecosystem. For Tesla drivers, this means a more seamless and integrated charging experience, as the industry moves towards standardization.

Lastly, as NACS becomes more prevalent, Tesla drivers might find themselves benefiting from advancements in charging technology and infrastructure brought about by broader industry adoption. These advancements could include faster charging speeds, improved reliability, and enhanced user experiences at various charging stations.

What prospective EV owners need to know

If you are buying a new EV during this period, you are entering the market at a transitional time. Currently, most non-Tesla EVs come equipped with CCS ports, but as North America shifts towards the NACS connector, the availability of CCS charging ports might gradually decrease. It will take at least a year before non-Tesla EV manufacturers start building NACS connectors into their cars. This means that if you buy a non-Tesla EV now, you might eventually need to use an adapter to charge at stations with NACS connectors.

For Tesla owners, the shift to NACS will likely make things easier. As more charging networks adopt NACS, Tesla drivers will have access to a wider range of charging locations across the country, enhancing convenience and travel flexibility.

If you own or plan to buy a non-Tesla EV with a CCS port, your experience will remain largely unchanged in the near term. Third-party charging networks will continue to support CCS connectors, though they may gradually introduce NACS connectors over time. Initially, some charging stations will offer NACS connectors while others will retain CCS connectors. As the transition progresses, you might find that having an adapter is useful to charge electric cars at NACS-equipped stations. Some stations may provide these adapters, but in other cases, you will need to have your own.

For those considering buying a new EV, it might be worth waiting a bit longer until the transition to NACS is complete, especially if you prefer a non-Tesla brand. Alternatively, purchasing a Tesla ensures that you will have a vehicle with what appears to be the emerging standard connector in the U.S. However, even if you buy a non-Tesla EV now, it will likely be several years before it becomes challenging to find charging stations with CCS connectors. Using an adapter will likely become a manageable solution for most EV owners.

For many buyers, using an adapter to charge occasionally will not be a significant issue, particularly for those who primarily charge at home. Home charging setups can be equipped with CCS chargers or adapters, ensuring a seamless charging experience. Thus, while the transition may cause some initial uncertainty, the long-term benefits of a unified charging standard are likely to outweigh the temporary inconveniences.

The Best NACS EV Chargers for Your Home

If you're in the market for the Best EV charger compatible with NACS, we've compiled a comprehensive list for you.

Lectron Portable Level 2 Tesla EV Charger

The Lectron Portable Level 2 Tesla EV Charger offers the convenience of Level 2 charging speeds without the need for a fixed, wall-mounted unit. This portable charger is designed specifically for Tesla models and electric vehicles that use the North American Charging Standard (NACS), ensuring full compatibility. It plugs directly into a 240V outlet, providing up to 9.6 kW / 40 Amp output, which translates to approximately 36 miles of range per hour. One of its key advantages is its portability, allowing it to be used almost anywhere that has a NEMA 14-50 outlet, making it a versatile and flexible charging solution for Tesla owners.

Lectron Home Level 2 NACS Tesla V-BOX Pro EV Charging Station

The Lectron Home Level 2 NACS Tesla V-BOX Pro EV Charging Station is a versatile and powerful EV charger designed for all Tesla models, including the upcoming Cybertruck. It offers multiple amp settings (16, 32, 40, and 48A) for flexible charging, and can be easily connected to a NEMA 14-50 outlet or hardwired into your home's electrical panel. With a 16-foot charging cable and a sleek V-shaped LED light status indicator, this Energy Star-certified charger provides convenient and user-friendly charging at home. It comes with a complimentary NACS mount for cable organization and boasts UL2594 and FCC certifications, as well as an IP65 rating for safety and reliability.

The Wi-Fi version of V-Box Pro EV Charging Station offers additional features, including app access through the Lectron App. With Wi-Fi connectivity, users can control their charging schedule remotely and track charging progress in real-time. The app also allows for customization of energy consumption, providing added convenience and flexibility for users.

Universal Wall Connector

The Universal Wall Connector is Tesla's solution for households with two electric vehicles, one Tesla and one non-Tesla. It offers a powerful charging capability, adding up to 44 miles of range per hour with its 11.5 kW / 48 amp output. An integrated J1772 adapter allows it to charge any electric vehicle conveniently, while the auto-sensing handle simplifies the charging process for Tesla vehicles by automatically opening the Tesla charge port. Users can monitor and manage their charging schedule and usage through the Tesla app, which enhances convenience and control. The Wall Connector features Wi-Fi connectivity, enabling over-the-air updates, remote diagnostics, and access controls, ensuring it remains up-to-date and functional.

Comparing NACS Home Chargers

To help you choose the best NACS home charger, here's a comparison table:

While the Tesla Universal Wall Connector offers ample cable length and compatibility with both Tesla and J1772 vehicles, its fixed wall-mounted design limits portability and flexibility. Additionally, its maximum charging speed is limited to 44mph, which is slower than that of the V-Box Pro's 46mph.

The Lectron Portable Level 2 Charger provides portability and flexibility with its ability to plug into a 240V outlet or be hardwired into a home's electrical panel. However, it lacks Wi-Fi connectivity and offers a slightly slower charging speed compared to the Lectron V-BOX Pro Charging Station.

The Lectron V-BOX Pro Charging Station stands out with its compatibility with all Tesla models and EVs using NACS, multiple amp settings for flexible charging, and Wi-Fi connectivity for remote control, real-time monitoring, and energy customization. It also offers a slightly faster charging speed than the Tesla Universal Wall Connector and provides the same level of certifications and ratings for safety and reliability.

The V-Box Pro is the perfect balance between the portability of the Lectron Portable Level 2 Charger and the speed and connectivity of the Universal Wall Connector.

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