The Tesla charger, centre, is emerging as the one connection to rule them all. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

A seismic shift has occurred in the electric vehicle space, with Stellantis, the last of the three major North American auto makers, choosing to join its competitors in adopting the Tesla charger system for its new electric vehicles starting in 2025.

That charger standard, recently renamed by Tesla as the “North American Charger Standard,” puts to bed the format war that was in many ways similar to Betamax/VHS/DVD, with Tesla’s equivalent being the winning DVD.

In this case, the Betamax example is CHAdeMo, which is an abbreviation of “CHArge de MOve.” The list of vehicles that require it natively (without an adapter) it is shockingly brief, and generally speaking in Canada, is mostly the Nissan Leaf. And yet the new, non-Tesla charging stations throughout Saskatchewan at Whitewood, Estevan, North Battleford, Regina and Estevan all have these soon-to-be-obsolete charge units.

Europe decided to go with the CCS standard (the VHS in this metaphor), or Combined Charging System (not carbon capture and storage). And to make it more complicated, there’s an add-on/combo to CCS called J1772 for Level 2 charging. Up until last May, nearly all North American EVs with the exception of Tesla and Nissan were built with CCS as their charging standard.

Back on May 25, 2023, Ford announced it would adopt the Tesla charger standard and would also gain access to the Tesla Supercharger standard. In a few weeks time, General Motors also signed up to the Tesla standard and similar usage of Superchargers.

As Wired.com reported on Feb. 13, “Stellantis was the final domino to fall before Tesla’s connector could declare victory in North America. Ford said it would add the newer connector to its electric vehicles in May. Since then, General Motors, ​​Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Honda, the Hyundai Group, Toyota, BMW, Volkswagen, and others have followed. In fact, only a handful of electric startups are still holding out.”

A charging station with Combined Charging System (CCS) plugs is seen in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, June 9, 2023. Owners of General Motors and Ford electric vehicles will be able charge at many of Tesla’s large network of stations across the U.S. starting next year. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Stellantis’ press release of Feb. 8 said it was announcing the “adoption of the upcoming SAE J3400 charging connector, starting with select battery-electric vehicle (BEV) models launching in North America for the 2026 model year.”

(This is the Tesla NACS standard, although Stellantis never mentions it by that name, nor does it reference access to the Tesla Supercharger network)

The release continued, “Customers win when the industry aligns on open standards. We are happy to announce our backing and adoption of the SAE J3400 connector, a milestone for all customers on the path to open and seamless charging,” said Ricardo Stamatti, Stellantis SVP of global energy & charging. “Our Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan puts customers at the center of open interoperability and freedom of mobility for all. This future will be amplified by IONNA, our public charging joint venture with six other OEMs that will deliver industry-leading high-powered charging for all battery-electric vehicles regardless of brand.”

“Today’s announcement builds upon the IONNA charging network joint venture announced in June 2023. Stellantis has joined with six other world-leading automakers to develop a high-powered charging network with at least 30,000 charge points in urban and highway locations across North America by 2030.”

Stellantis also noted:

  • Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) from Stellantis brands in North America will adopt the proposed SAE J3400 connector, starting with select models in 2025
  • During the transition period, Stellantis will also make adapters available for vehicles fitted with the Combined Charging System (CCS) port, enabling drivers to access a growing private and public J3400 infrastructure to meet J3400/1 requirements still being developed this year

With the charger format war now essentially over, the implications are broad. Anyone planning on buying a new EV within the next year should strongly consider installing a NACS charger at home as opposed to any other model. And for those who have installed CCS or CHAdeMo, they will work, now, for their current vehicles, and may still be installed on new vehicles in the future. But these standards will quickly go the way of the Betamax and VHS, essentially making them “stranded assets” in the near future. So either adapters or replacement will likely be the way of the future for the earl adopters who installed these systems at their homes or businesses.

This will also apply to charge points as varied as those along city streets to hotel parking lots. Tesla won, and everyone else lost.

 

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https://pipelineonline.ca/brian-zinchuk-ford-and-tesla-just-signalled-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-electric-vehicle-charging-format-war/