Kentucky now requires that electric vehicle charging companies include Tesla’s charging plug if they want to secure federal funds from a state program to electrify highways, Reuters reports.
The plan went into effect Friday, making Kentucky the first state to officially mandate Tesla’s charging technology. Texas and Washington have also shared plans that would require charging companies to include Tesla’s “North American Charging Standard” (NACS), as well as the Combined Charging System (CCS), if they want to qualify for federal dollars.
The Tesla charging plug swing started when Ford in May said it would build future EVs with Tesla charging technology. General Motors soon followed, causing a domino effect. Now, a range of automakers like Rivian and Volvo and charging companies like FreeWire Technologies and Volkswagen’s Electrify America have said they’d adopt the NACS standard. Standards organization SAE International has also said it aims to make an industry standard configuration of NACS in six months or less.
Some pockets of the EV charging industry are attempting to temper the increased NACS momentum. A group of EV charging companies like ChargePoint and ABB, as well as clean energy groups and even the Texas DOT, wrote to the Texas Transportation Commission calling for more time to re-engineer and test Tesla’s connectors before implementing a proposed mandate. In a letter viewed by Reuters, they say that Texas’s plan is premature and requires time to properly standardize, test and certify the safety and interoperability of Tesla’s connectors.
Despite pushback, it’s clear that NACS is catching, at least in the private sector. If the trend of automakers and charging companies falling in line is anything to go by, we can continue to expect states to follow in Kentucky’s wake.
California might soon follow, since it’s Tesla’s birthplace, the automaker’s former HQ and current “engineering HQ,” not to mention it leads the nation in both Tesla and EV sales. The state’s DOT did not comment, and California’s Department of Energy has not responded to TechCrunch’s request for insights.
According to Kentucky’s request for proposal for the state’s EV charging program, each port must be equipped with a CCS connector and be capable of connecting to and charging vehicles equipped with NACS-compliant ports.
The U.S. Department of Transportation mandated earlier this year that charging companies must have CCS plugs — which are considered to be an international charging standard — in order to qualify for federal funds earmarked for the deployment of 500,000 public EV chargers by 2030. The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program (NEVI) is offering $5 billion to states.