A group of EV charger makers and operators is pushing back against Texas’ plan to mandate the inclusion of Tesla technology in charging stations, saying it is “premature,” according to a document seen by Reuters and a source aware of the matter.
Reuters reported last week that Texas would require charging companies to include both Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) as well as the nationally recognized rival Combined Charging Standard (CCS) technology to be eligible for a state program to electrify highways using federal dollars.
Washington followed suit, and standards organization SAE International has said it aims to make an industry standard configuration of Tesla’s charging connector in six months or less, adding momentum to Tesla CEO Elon Musk‘s hope of making NACS the national charging technology.
But five electric vehicle charging companies, including operator ChargePoint Holdings and manufacturer ABB, and a clean energy association have written to the Texas Transportation Commission, calling for more time to re-engineer and test Tesla’s connectors.
Texas’ plan “risks the successful deployment” of the first phase of federal funds being rolled out, they said in the letter sent to the chairman of the commission on Thursday, which was seen by Reuters.
“Time is needed to properly standardize, test, and certify the safety and interoperability of Tesla connectors across the industry,” they said.
The source directly aware of the matter told Reuters that some of these organizations are planning to reach out to the federal government with the issue soon.
The Texas Department of Transportation, ChargePoint, ABB and other signatories FreeWire, EVBox and FLO did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.
Another signatory, Americans for Affordable Clean Energy, an association of truck stops and convenience stores, could not be reached immediately.
Tesla, the dominant EV maker in the United States, has scored a string of victories for its charging technology in recent weeks, starting with Ford Motor saying it would adopt NACS. General Motors, Rivian Automotive and a raft of auto and charging companies did the same, on concerns of losing out on customers if they offer only CCS.
Tesla’s Superchargers account for about 60 percent of the total number of fast chargers in the United States, according to the US Department of Energy, and the deals will allow non-Tesla users to use the company’s large charging network.
But concerns remain about how smoothly the two charging standards would talk to each other and whether having both standards in the market would raise costs for vendors and customers.
Charging companies have to re-work several aspects of NACS connectors, including extending the cable length and ensuring adequate temperature ranges, as well as get certifications for specific parts, the companies said in the letter.
The companies also highlighted the need for a strong supply chain of NACS cables and connectors that comply with the requirements.
© Thomson Reuters 2023