What Is the North American Charging Standard (NACS)?

March 7, 2024

Team ACV




What Is the North American Charging Standard (NACS)?

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An EV getting a charge at a public charging station

By 2030, it is predicted that electric vehicles (EVs) could make up 40% of auto sales globally.1 This promising forecast means battery technology, urban infrastructure, and charging availability will have to adapt to meet customer demand. Therefore, dealers will likely see EVs taking up a larger share of their inventory and hear more EV-related questions from customers. As a current leader in the EV space, Tesla operates its charging method with the North American Charging Standard (NACS). In this article, we will explore what NACS is, why it matters, and how its adoption could boost EV growth. 

What Is the NACS?

NACS is also known as the Tesla charging standard, or Tesla Supercharger network. It is an EV charging system developed by the manufacturer and used for all their vehicles since 2012. As of 2022, they announced that they would make their EV connector design available to other manufacturers throughout the world so more EVs can use the Tesla charging points. This is part of their efforts to advance the acceleration of the transition to sustainable energy.2 As a result, you may start to see EVs with this technology in vehicles entering lots throughout North America  by the end of 2024.2 

How Does NACS Work? 

The NACS uses a five-pin structure and supports AC charging as well as DC fast charging. 

  • AC charging: NACS can deliver up to 80 amps at 277 volts. 
  • DC fast charging: NACS can deliver 500 amps at up to 500 volts. 
  • Residential setups: Most commonly provide 48 amps of current at 240 volts. 

These chargers have a singular button on the handle. When it is triggered, it emits a signal that tells the vehicle to lock the charger in place. 

There are other types of charging standards on the market today that are used at non-Tesla charging stations, including CCS1 (used in North America), CCS2 (used in Europe), and CHAdeMO (used in Japan, as well as in some vehicles in North America and Europe).3

The NACS system is comprised of three phases:

  • The charging station: This refers to the components that will charge the EV battery, including the power source, isolation monitor, chargepost controller, and contactors.
  • The vehicle connector: This consists of five pins that connect the charger to the vehicle. Two pins are used to deliver either AC or DC power, the control pilot pin is the digital communications link, the proximity pilot pin determines the status of the vehicle connector, and the ground pin creates a ground path like in any other electric connection. 
  • The vehicle: This is the last phase, and it includes the vehicle, the battery, the onboard charger, and the vehicle controller. 4

What Is the Difference Between NACS and CCS? 

The main difference is the size of the charge interface. The NACS connector is much smaller than CCS counterparts because the same pins are used for both AC and DC charging, whereas CCS chargers have two sets of pins on the connector, making it a thicker device.4 

NACS’ Popularity and Adoption 

The NACS charging network includes 2,000 supercharger stations that contain over 17,000 chargers in the U.S. alone. In 2023, a group of manufacturers, including BMW, GM, and Honda, agreed to collaborate on the installation of more than 30,000 charging points throughout the country, all of which will be suitable for CCS and NACS connections. 

After Tesla announced its release of NACS, Ford was the first company to adopt the technology for its electric vehicles. As a result, new Ford EVs will have NACS chargers beginning in 2025. Beyond Ford, companies like Toyota, Subaru, Volkswagen, Porsche, and more have declared their plans to adopt NACS.3 

Why Does NACS Adoption Matter?

Tesla has the most powerful and widespread charging network in the world, and making their technology available to other manufacturers is essential in the pursuit of widespread electric vehicle adoption. This streamlining of technology will help consumers feel comfortable with their charging opportunities and open the potential to advance the technological development of EVs overall. This development in charging technology also opens up the opportunity for dealers to explain these advancements in the EV space to new customers, reassuring them of the opportunity these vehicles can offer. 

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  1. Goldstein, Seth. 2023. “We forecast global electric vehicle sales to quadruple by 2030.” MorningStar. Retrieved February 16, 2024. https://www.morningstar.com/stocks/we-forecast-40-global-ev-adoption-rate-by-2030-up-10-2022 
  2. Tesla Team. 2022. “Opening the North American Charging Standard.” Tesla. Retrieved February 16, 2024. https://www.tesla.com/blog/opening-north-american-charging-standard  
  3. Choksey, Jessica Shea. 2023. “What is the North American Charging Standard (NACS)?” J.D. Power. Retrieved February 16, 2024. https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/what-is-the-north-american-charging-standard-nacs 
  4. Kumar, Rakesh. 2023. “What is the North American Charging Standard (NACS)?” EV Engineering. Retrieved February 16, 2024. https://www.evengineeringonline.com/what-is-north-american-charging-station-nacs/