Kentucky has made a significant move in the electric vehicle industry by becoming the first state to mandate the use of Tesla’s charging plug for state-backed charging stations. This decision, aimed at electrifying highways using federal funds, requires charging companies to include Tesla’s plug, known as the North American Charging Standard (NACS), alongside the rival Combined Charging System (CCS).
According to Kentucky’s request for proposal (RFP) for the state’s EV charging program, charging stations must be equipped with an SAE CCS 1 connector, complying with federal requirements. Additionally, each port should also be capable of connecting to and charging vehicles equipped with charging ports compliant with the North American Charging Standard (NACS).
Tesla, being the dominant EV manufacturer in the United States, has been successful in securing a series of victories for its charging technology in recent weeks. Notably, Ford Motor announced its adoption of the NACS plug, further enhancing Tesla’s influence in the charging infrastructure landscape.
However, a group of EV charger manufacturers and operators has expressed concerns regarding Texas’ plan to mandate the inclusion of Tesla’s technology in charging stations. They argue that the move is premature and suggest that more time is needed to standardize, test, and certify the safety and interoperability of Tesla connectors across the industry.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a rule stating that charging companies must provide CCS plugs to be eligible for federal funding aimed at deploying 500,000 EV chargers by 2030. The rule allows charging stations to feature additional connectors as long as they support CCS, which is recognized as the national standard.
Kentucky’s bold step in mandating Tesla’s charging plug reinforces the ongoing efforts to streamline and standardize the EV charging infrastructure. As the transition to electric vehicles continues to gain momentum, cooperation among industry stakeholders and adherence to national standards will play a crucial role in facilitating seamless charging experiences for EV owners nationwide.