Tesla’s NACS Plug Is About To Dominate. ChargePoint Says Bring It On

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Get ready for a game-changer in the U.S. electric vehicle charging scene – it’s like the iPhone 15 moment for EVs. According to Pasquale Romano, CEO of charging equipment provider ChargePoint, Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) plug is gearing up to take the lead in a few years.

Romano isn’t sweating it, though. In an interview with InsideEVs, he expressed disappointment that the industry took this long to make the move. He even pointed out the smoother transition in Europe, where a single connection type became mandatory by law.

The uncertainty of whether NACS or the Combined Charging System (CCS) would prevail had the industry in limbo. But now, with over a dozen major automakers, including BMW, opting for Tesla’s plug, Romano believes the market has made its choice.

ChargePoint, known for CCS equipment, is ready for the shift. They’ve just announced the rollout of chargers equipped with both CCS and NACS plugs. This Bay Area-based company is future-proofing their infrastructure, ensuring compatibility for any car that parks at a ChargePoint station.

Romano emphasized their customer-centric approach, avoiding the need for users to dedicate a parking spot to a specific connector type. With upcoming equipment featuring both CCS and NACS plugs, ChargePoint ensures that when you see them, it’ll just work with your car. No need to stress about evolving ratios – they’ve got a solution that won’t make you pick sides.

ChargePoint, the largest public charging network in the U.S. with nearly 50,000 stations, is making big moves. According to EVAdoption data, it outpaces Tesla’s Supercharger network. While Tesla holds the second spot, it’s essential to note that most ChargePoint stations are Level 2 destination chargers, not DC fast chargers like Tesla’s.

In a recent announcement, ChargePoint shared plans for the first public DC fast charging alternative to Tesla’s Supercharger network on NACS. This is significant not only for Tesla drivers seeking options but also for the wave of new EVs adopting the plug standard around 2025.

ChargePoint also raised $232 million in capital to support its path to profitability, set for Q4 2024, reinforcing its commitment to growth. As CEO since 2011, Pasquale Romano acknowledges the evolving landscape, emphasizing the importance of keeping ChargePoint relevant.

Romano dismisses concerns about NACS integration, stating it’s just a plastic shape. He assures that supporting both CCS and NACS simultaneously is cost-effective, considering the affordability of fast chargers on the AC side. With the increasing adoption of CCS plugs and European mandates, the CCS standard isn’t going away soon, justifying ChargePoint’s two-pronged approach.

Addressing concerns about post-2025 support for CCS in America, Romano mentions that while most auto OEMs may not back it, ChargePoint aims to simplify things for station owners. By offering a solution that supports both plug types in a single parking space, they eliminate the need for meticulous planning.

A company spokesperson mentions that conversion kits for existing units range from $200 to $3,000, depending on speed and equipment. This move is a response to the charging industry’s necessity, driven by automakers frustrated with charger reliability and availability issues.

The automotive industry’s reluctance to be in the charging business has led to increased collaboration with established players like ChargePoint. Uptime remains a challenge, with over a quarter of public chargers in the Bay Area reported as non-functional.

ChargePoint acknowledges past challenges, particularly with uptime issues. However, recent efforts include an operations center for 24/7 monitoring, improved social media responsiveness, and a push for property owners to opt into comprehensive maintenance packages.

Romano recognizes the competition with Tesla’s Supercharger stations, known for their reliability and quality. However, with NACS ports everywhere, ChargePoint aims to offer drivers added value, emphasizing that consumers will choose based on convenience and accessibility.

“In a world where NACS is supported by us and everyone else, the consumer will pick what they want to avail themselves of while they’re stopped,” Romano said. “We have to be everywhere because businesses want to work with us. That’s the competitive angle. If we’re a better company to work with for that business, then that’s what the business will put in, and their patrons won’t have to pick.”

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