Although technological evolution is always welcomed, it is easy for two positions to clash from time to time. Similar but not completely the same products fighting to dominate the competition and impose their new standards. The electric car has not been exempt from these problems either.
And the story about its connectors has taken an unexpected turn.
El Betamax. Recent history has left us great winners and losers when it comes to standards and supports. And, with them, thousands of consumers who remember with nostalgia how they chose the right option or, on the contrary, how they saw their savings lose a pinch due to the “new revolution” that, finally, became completely obsolete in a very short time.
Perhaps one of the technologies that has best summarized this has been Betamax, which succumbed to VHS. The Laserdisc, the Mini Disc… or the most recent HD DVD, if we take into account that Blue-Ray ended up winning the battle. And as long as we don’t understand that Blue-Ray has also ended up being a failure. The same has been experienced among the charging standards of electric cars.
USB y Lightning. If we talk about connectors, perhaps the last great battle has been that of USB against Lightning. Years ago, Apple took the lead with its own charging and data transfer system. USB tried to follow in his footsteps and catch Lightning by reducing its size and jumping by the letters A, B, C or the names Micro, Mini…
Finally, USB-C has ended up satisfying a large part of the industry and the European Union has decided that this will be its standard connector, to the point of forcing Apple to market its smartphones with this connector.
CCS. In Europe, we have also experienced a tough battle, in the first steps of electric cars, between CHAdeMO and CCS. The first was the one used by the first electric and Japanese vehicles that arrived on our continent. The second is the Combined Charging System (CCS), created by Germans and Americans with the aim of simplifying charging and using a universal connector.
The CHAdeMO standard also found its way into China, even though they had their own Guobiao GB/T. A war of chargers in which Tesla flew on his own account. As with USB, adopted by most players, Tesla relies on NACS, its own standard, in a similar strategy to Apple’s with Lightning. The big difference is that he has convinced one of his great rivals to come over to his side.
Ford adopta NACS. In November 2022, Elon Musk launched the order: whoever wanted could board his yacht. It opened up the possibility for other manufacturers to adopt NACS as their charging system (in the US and Canada) and abandon CCS along the way. To convince, he assured that his charging network is the most dense in the United States.
The first to jump on the Musk boat was Aptera, a small manufacturer that is struggling to bring its electric cars to market. But, when nobody expected it, Ford has also taken the step. With an adapter, your cars will be able to be recharged in Tesla superchargers but, above all, customers will be able to count on this type of charging system from 2025.
The colaboration. To be effective before 2025, Tesla will allow Ford customers to use its supercharger network through the oval’s own brand app. Their cars, yes, will have to have an adapter that allows charging at these points. A solution that can pay off as customers will have access to thousands of new plugs.
Starting in 2025, Ford customers who opt for the NACS connector will have to go the other way. As they count on Axios, these cars will have to use a new adapter to be able to be used on the CCS network.
assuming reality. What Ford has done with this collaboration is basically assume that Tesla has a better charging infrastructure right now. Its charging network is very dense (there are 12,000 plugs between the United States and Canada) and its cables are more powerful despite being smaller and lighter. So much so that its latest versions will be able to operate 500 volts and 1,000 volts with the same plug.
This will allow, in the most powerful versions, Tesla’s connectors to be capable of operating at 900 A and 1,000 volts, to deliver 900 kW. Right now, the maximum that CCS reaches is 500 kW of power and its chargers are testimonial. All this without water cooling, which simplifies the task for network operators.
Winning? Ford is clear: versatility. That your customers have thousands of new plugs on hand (despite paying for the adapter) may be enough value for new drivers to opt for your firm over the competition. The company has already made reference to the fact that it prefers to increase the number of plugs available than the size of the battery, since the latter can make the electric car much more expensive to sell.
Tesla, for its part, earns thousands of vehicles that can potentially use its infrastructures and pay for them, an extra for its revenue streams. But, in addition, from Bloomberg they point out that the Inflation Reduction Law puts up to 2,500 million dollars on the table for the installation of charging points, but as long as they can feed a large number of cars. Tesla would have reasons to be able to access this aid and continue its expansion of poles at low cost.
a small cost. Despite everything, the maneuver also has a small image cost for Tesla. We must not lose sight of the fact that, although the company multiplies the chances that someone will take advantage of its charging points, Tesla car drivers will also have to compete with those of other firms to use their native connectors.
Until now, its network of superchargers, closed exclusively to Tesla users, was also an added value for potential buyers. That value is diluted, which the company wants to correct with a greater number of poles available.
In Xataka | We are in 2023 and we are crying out for a revolutionary change for electric car chargers: a POS
Foto | Ernie Journeys