CharIN head says J3400 (Tesla NACS) and CCS charging standards will co-exist for many years

A year ago, as automakers, EVSE suppliers and pundits enthusiastically jumped on the Tesla NACS bandwagon, the Charging Interface Initiative North America (CharIN) was one of the few voices urging a little caution. CharIN’s mission is to facilitate the adoption of charging standards, so the organization is now deeply involved with testing interoperability for NACS (now more properly known as SAE J3400).

During my recent conversation with CharIN Executive Director Erika Myers, I asked whether CharIN’s concerns about the new standard had been addressed.

“CharIN’s main concern was that NACS was not standardized yet,” Ms. Myers told Charged. “Since then, we have been going through a standards process with SAE, and last December the Technical Information Report was published, which is the precursor to development of a standard. We launched the North American Charging Interoperability Task Force last July, which currently has over 300 individuals who are contributing to the standardization of SAE J3400.”

Back in the bandwagon days, pundits were predicting that CCS would quickly be replaced by Tesla’s NACS. More thoughtful observers noted that there were already over a million CCS-equipped EVs on the roads in the US alone.

“We believe that there will be many years of parallel existence between CCS and J3400, and our plan is to continue to support both,” said Myers. “CharIN has been working collaboratively with SAE, Ford, Tesla, GM and many of our other members to ensure that J3400 is standardized and meets consumer needs for reliable and effective charging.”

CharIN was, and remains, concerned about the use of adapters. “CharIN has had a long-standing position that adapters are not an ideal solution for consumers, but recognizing that adapters will likely be used for some time, we want to get ahead of potential safety challenges of non-standardized adapters. So, CharIN released an adapter safety statement regarding J3400/J1772 adapters. The publication of the standard is expected sometime this summer.”

How does the Tesla CEO’s recent decision to blow up his company’s Supercharger team affect the ongoing standardization process? Ms. Myers told me that CharIN has been discussing the Tesla issue (of course), but does not currently have an official stance on the matter. That’s only natural, considering the unpredictability of all things Tesla.

Furthermore, while the turmoil at Tesla is surely disturbing to its customers and business partners, it probably doesn’t matter much from a standardization standpoint. Tesla has released its creation into the wild (or “fumbled the ball on the 10-yard line,” as one of our readers put it), and the processes of improving the standard and insuring interoperability will continue, regardless of what happens to the former industry trend-setter.

Source: CharIN

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