In recent weeks we have seen several prominent EV manufacturers announce their intention to transition from CCS connectors to NACS for fast DC Level 3 charging. From Ford to GM, and now Rivian making the jump in 2024 to the more compact NACS connector and the more extensive Tesla-backed Supercharger network. But what about home charging? Most home charging equipment today comes with the J1772 connector. Are J1772 home EV chargers becoming obsolete? No. Not for many years, and the existence of adapters means years of service life into the future.
CCS and NACS will coexist for some time
The NACS connector (formerly known as the Tesla connector) is now on track to become the dominant standard for North America. However, standards and infrastructure developments take years to change. While Ford and GM have announced their intentions to transition, the fact remains that all of their current EV models are coming off the production line with CCS and J1772. If you plan on purchasing any electric car that isn’t a Tesla this year, you are much better with a home charging station with a J1772 connector. In fact, even if you’re buying a car from Tesla, some of our top recommendations are using J1772, because those products offer unique features not found on Tesla’s native offerings.
When the time comes to buy another car in several years’ time, the J1772 charger in your garage will NOT become obsolete because of the existence of adapters. Just like Tesla delivers cars with J1772-to-NACS adapters with the purchase of new cars, other brands are going to make available NACS-to-J1772 adapters when NACS becomes even more ubiquitous. You can already buy such adapters today on the aftermarket if you want to charge non-Tesla cars at Tesla-branded charging stations.
As with all major transitions, there will be an awkward couple of years when we will need to carry adapters in the trunk. But in ~five years’ time, we are predicting the industry will rally around a single connector.
What are J1772, CCS, and NACS?
Simply put, J1772 is a connector for Level 1 and Level 2 charging adopted by most electric vehicle manufacturers outside of Tesla. It can deliver up to 80 amps at 240 volts for 19 kW of alternating current. The Combined Charging System (CCS) is a Level 3 fast charging connector that combines a J1772 connection at the top with two large direct current (DC) pins at the bottom for high-voltage charging.
The North American Charging Standard (NACS) is a connector designed by Tesla Motors, and open-sourced in 2022 after being proprietary for more than a decade. The main benefit of NACS is much more developed Supercharger infrastructure in North America that allows for easy long distance travel. A secondary underrated benefit is a more compact design, as both Level 2 AC and Level 3 DC charging is handled by the same pins.