In a significant move towards streamlining the electric vehicle (EV) charging experience, Honda and its luxury subsidiary Acura have announced their intention to adopt Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) charging connector in North America. This decision comes as a strategic response to the evolving EV landscape and the growing importance of establishing a unified charging infrastructure.

Confirmation from the Top

American Honda Motor Co. President and CEO, Noriya Kaihara, made the announcement, emphasizing the importance of joining the NACS coalition. “It is quite important. We also have to push NACS, as well. It is clear,” he stated, underlining the company’s commitment to enhancing the charging infrastructure.

Collaboration with General Motors

The timeline for the integration of NACS charging inlets into the first Honda and Acura all-electric models remains uncertain, as other automakers target a 2025 implementation. However, the Japanese automaker is reliant on General Motors (GM) for this transition. The initial two all-electric Honda and Acura models are built upon GM’s Ultium platform and will be manufactured at GM’s production facilities.

Given that GM has also committed to the CCS1-to-NACS switch, slated to begin in 2025, it’s highly plausible that Honda and Acura will be prepared to adopt the NACS standard by 2025 or 2026. Notably, the first batch of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), including the Honda Prologue and the recently unveiled Acura ZDX, will initially come equipped with the Combined Charging System (CCS1).

NACS Integration and Beyond

Honda is actively developing its platform for future all-electric models, subsequent to the launch of the initial two Ultium-based BEVs. Speculation suggests that these upcoming BEVs will offer native support for the NACS standard upon their introduction. Jay Joseph, American Honda’s Vice President of Sustainability and Business Development, underscored the necessity for dependable software and hardware in the charging infrastructure. “The software needs to be really reliable and really open infrastructure so it communicates with every OEM’s software. The hardware needs to be capable of the highest levels of charging. It needs to be secure, it needs to be reliable, it needs to be accessible.”

Learning from Tesla’s Success

Jay Joseph also acknowledged the key role played by Tesla’s Supercharging network in shaping Honda and Acura’s charging strategy. The maintenance and responsiveness of the Tesla Supercharger network have set a benchmark for efficiency and reliability. “If you look at what’s so great about the Tesla Supercharger network, it’s the maintenance. They stay on top of it, they’ve got someone onsite monitoring the equipment, they’re monitoring it electronically and remotely, and they fix it – fast. That’s probably the most important thing,” he remarked.

The Road Ahead

The decision by Honda and Acura to adopt Tesla’s NACS charging connector signals a promising shift towards harmonizing the EV charging landscape. By aligning with a standardized charging protocol, these automakers are aiming to provide a seamless and user-friendly charging experience for their customers. As the EV industry continues to evolve, collaboration and innovation in charging infrastructure will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of sustainable transportation.