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How Will Other Cars Charge At Superchargers In 2024? – Renewable Energy

How Will Other Cars Charge At Superchargers In 2024?


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As 2024 approaches, we’re not far from a big change in the EV charging scene. But, it’s not entirely clear how it’s going to work.

Some Background

For those unfamiliar, there are three competing charging plug standards in the United States: Tesla (NACS), CCS1, and CHAdeMO.

CHAdeMO fell first when even Japanese automakers abandoned it for North American cars. About the only car left with that plug is the 2024 Nissan LEAF, and that car is not long from going out of production. Electrify America stopped putting in CHAdeMO plugs at most new stations, and only has iffy support for the lone CHAdeMO plug at stations where the company was required to put one. Other companies like ChargePoint and EVgo still have many CHAdeMO plugs, but modular plugs on their stations mean that many station owners will end up swapping them out for NACS in the coming years.

CCS isn’t dead yet, but its days are numbered in the US. Poor reliability caused by a number of factors led to CCS being a lot less reliable than CCS in Europe. This led to automakers needing to depend on something other than CCS networks, which led to Ford reaching out to Tesla to make a deal. Basically everyone else followed. But, other brands’ cars are not going to get a Tesla NACS port until 2025.

This will eventually lead to all new U.S. EVs using the NACS port, but the installed base of CCS EVs not only up until now, but for non-Tesla cars sold in 2024 will still be around for at least a decade or two. So, the vehicles will need to get access to NACS stations somehow.

What We Know So Far

Not all manufacturers are going to do this the same way, but we do know that adapters will be available starting in “early 2024”. Given that we’re in the last day of 2023, that’s coming up fast. Some manufacturers might charge drivers for the adapter, while others might provide them for free upon request. Lectron is already doing pre-orders for them if you don’t want to wait for your manufacturer to get around to it, but it won’t work until a car’s manufacturer supports it in software or Tesla opens the site in the Tesla app (more on that in the next section).

We also know that the adapter for CCS vehicles to charge at a NACS station is strictly electrical. Tesla vehicles have been capable of using the CCS protocol for years, with older vehicles capable of doing this with a retrofit and an adapter. Tesla’s newer charging stations are likewise able to speak CCS. So, the adapter doesn’t need to do any translating or software-level work. It’s just a physical adapter to connect the right pins to the right pins.

But, when it comes to Tesla’s stations, not all of them can support the CCS protocol, and will not be able to support vehicles even with an adapter. Version 3 and 4 chargers have the ability to charge non-Tesla vehicles, while older ones do not. This is still great, because there are a lot of V3 stations out there. Today, a good way to see what stations your non-Tesla vehicle will get access to is to check out and set the filter to only show chargers with 250 kW or greater speeds (older chargers can only do 150).

The adapters might also work with NACS destination chargers (Level 2), but that detail hasn’t been announced, so don’t count on it yet. That having been said, adapters for J1772 vehicles are already on the market and work very well, so you might want to pick up one of those anyway.

The Big Remaining Question: Starting A Charge

Once you get an adapter, you’ll need to not only plug in, but be able to pay Tesla for a charge and get the session started somehow. This is where different manufacturers might differ.

In some cases, you may need to charge using Tesla’s app, much like people do with Magic Dock V3 stations now. It’s possible that Tesla will want you to register your car with the Tesla app and may even support some kind of plug and charge capability in the future. Either way, Tesla’s app will need to know that you’ve got a supported vehicle from a brand that’s forked over the scratch to get you access somehow.

The more likely thing to work first is manufacturer app support. For example, the not-so-great MyChevrolet app has a setting for charging using the app buried in a menu in the map screen. It looks like this:

It seems very likely based on the initial announcement and things I’ve read since that Tesla will be added to this screen. This will be a good way for Tesla’s station to know for sure that my Bolt is allowed to charge, because the charging request will be coming in from the manufacturer’s app. It also seems likely that some form of plug-and-charge functionality will be added just like exists now for EVgo and EVConnect stations. That may come later, though.

I Probably Won’t Use This Feature Very Often, Though

While I know that access to the Supercharger network is going to be helpful on some trips, I don’t think it’s going to be the gamechanger the Supercharging Superfans are saying it will be. Despite some minor inconveniences, I’ve had a pretty good time using the CCS network, and I know it will improve over time.

I’m personally concerned about a charging monopoly forming. The other networks are having problems staying afloat, and I’d like to see as many of them survive as possible. If it gets down to only 1 or 2 companies providing charging services, that won’t be good for the consumer or for future growth. So, I’m only going to use Superchargers when other working stations are not available. In most cases, the Supercharger will be a good backup solution.

Another reason I’m going to largely avoid it is courtesy. If I hated Tesla owners, I’d go to Supercharger stations all the time with my 55 kW Bolt EUV that has the plug on the wrong side. This not only means I’m taking up two spaces in some ways, but that I’ll be there a lot longer than other cars. But, I don’t hate Tesla owners, so I’m going to try to not clog stations up like that until longer cables and more stalls are available (V4?).

An important scene from an old salsa commercial. Fair Use.

I don’t want to get strung up like the guy who bought salsa from New York City, right?

Featured image by Jaguar.

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