ChargePoint, one of the companies racing to put EV charging stations all over the US, announced today that it is beginning to roll out support for the NACS connector that is quickly becoming the national standard. ChargePoint stations that have previously used other ports and power sources can start to use the Tesla-created plug in November, and the company says it now offers “every necessary cable solution to charge an EV in North America and Europe.”
The company first said it would add NACS plugs to some of its stations in June, as the standards organization SAE International announced that the NACS (which stands for “North American Charging Standard”) port would be standardized for cars in North America. A number of car makers have since said they plan to make NACS-capable cars and offer adapters for their existing models.
ChargePoint quickly began making new stations with NACS plugs. Now it’s shipping “cable upgrade kits” to existing DC fast chargers around the country — hundreds of thousands of them, the company says — so they can upgrade their setup, both to better support Tesla charging and to be more compatible with the future of EVs. Those using ChargePoint’s in-home Home Flex system can get NACS cables even sooner.
The problem with the current charging system lies in the very fact that “every necessary cable solution” is a phrase you’d need to put in a press release. ChargePoint’s stations so far have offered multiple types of DC and AC power through multiple different proprietary ports, and to use any EV charger often requires balancing multiple accounts and subscriptions. Confusing, broken, incompatible EV chargers are one of drivers’ most consistent complaints. One study found that one in five people who pulled up to a charging station ended up not charging their vehicle. Even now, new ChargePoint stations include both a NACS port and a CCS port (which is the other competitor in the space, the Betamax to NACS’ VHS), as the company prepares for more years of split formats.
As NACS becomes the North American standard, though, a station like ChargePoint’s might only need one plug. For now, it’s still confusing: the company says it will continue to offer AC charging akin to what you might use to charge your car at home, and the NACS connector is only an adapter to existing systems. Both EV drivers and station owners are going to be living the charging dongle life for a while.