Kentucky has become the first state to mandate the inclusion of Tesla's charging plug by electric vehicle charging companies in their operations if they are to receive federal funds from a state program aimed at electrifying highways. This new requirement took effect on Friday, with Texas and Washington also hinting at similar plans, suggesting that charging stations must feature both Tesla's "North American Charging Standard" (NACS) and the Combined Charging System (CCS) to qualify for federal funding.
The shift towards adopting Tesla's charging technology gained momentum when Ford announced in May that it would equip its future EVs with Tesla's charging infrastructure. This decision was quickly mirrored by General Motors, sparking a domino effect across the industry. Subsequently, a host of automakers such as Rivian and Volvo, along with charging companies like FreeWire Technologies and Volkswagen’s Electrify America, have also expressed intent to adopt the NACS standard. In the same vein, the standards organization SAE International plans to finalize an industry-standard configuration of NACS within six months.
However, this rapid shift towards NACS has been met with resistance from certain quarters within the EV charging industry. A group of EV charging companies, including ChargePoint and ABB, as well as several clean energy groups and the Texas Department of Transportation, have requested more time to appropriately standardize, test, and certify the safety and interoperability of Tesla's connectors before enforcing a similar mandate.
The trend towards NACS adoption is clear within the private sector, and if this momentum continues, more states are likely to follow Kentucky's lead. California, given its close association with Tesla and its position as a leader in EV sales, might be the next in line, although the state's DOT and Department of Energy have yet to comment on the matter.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation imposed a requirement for charging companies to include CCS plugs, recognized as an international charging standard, to qualify for federal funds dedicated to deploying 500,000 public EV chargers by 2030. Under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program (NEVI), a total of $5 billion has been allocated to states for this purpose.