Tesla’s EV plug is great, but smoother payment is the fix we…

The Tesla wall charger connects to the Model X via the NACS connector style.

It’s finally happening. Until now, we’ve had a few different types of connectors on electric vehicles, but eventually everyone is moving toward a single connector. The NACS connector, invented by Tesla, is set to become the dominant (or only) charging connector on electric vehicles in North America.

But the actual connector is only part of the story if we want better EV charging. This is certainly important, but to create a truly convenient charging experience, the software is just as important as the hardware.

What is plug and charge?

These days, unless you have a Tesla, charging your electric car isn’t as convenient as it should be. Most of the time, you’ll drive up to a charging station, plug in the charging cable, mess with the charging station’s app, try to use tap-and-pay, and hope everything charges fast enough to charge your car. Will work properly.

Tesla cars in superchargers

but things don’t happen passed So hard to be – and in some cases, they’re not. It’s 2023, and technology should be able to work together more seamlessly. There’s actually a standard for doing this. Plug and Charge (also known as ISO 15118) is designed to securely enable the handshake between the car and the charging station, identify the user, and validate the payment, all without letting you Will have to do without. You just need to plug the charging cable into the car, and your car will handle the rest.

tesla effect

Of course, this kind of technology probably sounds familiar. Most Teslas have worked this way since the beginning. Unfortunately, Tesla is not using the ISO 15118 spec at all, and is instead using its own automatic charging technology to allow cars and charging stations to communicate with each other. But Tesla has included the potential use of ISO 15118 in the NACS standard, so car companies adopting the new connector can also implement Plug & Charge technology if they want.

Tesla isn’t actually the only company to implement automatic charging technology, but it is the only car company to widely adopt it as a default. Ford EV drivers can enable Plug & Charge by digging deeper into the settings of the FordPass app, and when they do, it will only work with certain charging stations. so convenient.

not so fast

It is important to note that Plug & Charge is not actually Necessary Switch on NACS – It’s included as an option in the standard, but that doesn’t mean car manufacturers have to enable it. The NACS itself is just a connector – the technology under the hood is different.

Front three-quarter view of the 2023 Kia EV6 GT-Line.
Stephen Edelstein /

“The change to NACS should not impact the adoption of Plug & Charge,” a representative from Electrify America said in an email to . “NACS is connector-only, and the underlying communications is largely unchanged.”

Car companies could actually adopt Plug & Charge in their Combined Charging System (CCS) electric vehicles, but for the most part, they haven’t. And, there is not necessarily any indication that moving to NACS will result in change.

“A vehicle must be built from the factory with ISO 15118 to support Plug and Charge,” Electrify America continued. “Many new vehicles on the market have this technology built-in, so adoption will continue to grow over time, but at this time, many EVs on the road were built without it.”

But there is still some hope. Tesla’s charging stations have long been associated with simple, convenient charging, and soon non-Tesla cars will be able to charge en masse at those stations. Tesla Superchargers are so deeply based on Plug & Charge that they don’t even have payment terminals built into them. You’ll set up a payment method in the Tesla app and then use Plug & Charge to charge.

white tesla on a supercharger

Implementing Plug & Charge isn’t just up to car manufacturers – it’s also up to the charging network. Clearly, Tesla already has the technology, but thankfully so do some others. Electrify America adopted the technology in 2020 (for cars that support it), however, companies like ChargePoint are not on board yet.

negative side

Plug & Charge is not necessarily the true charging standard that some people might hope for, and there are reasons why ChargePoint, for example, has not yet adopted the standard. ChargePoint argues that Plug & Charge unnecessarily introduces a middleman into the payment process for EV charging, creating unnecessary security risks. Additionally, ChargePoint says Plug & Charge gives too much power to set prices to utilities rather than to operators of chargers, which, for example, might be business owners who want to offer free charging to employees. We’ve contacted ChargePoint for comment and will update this article when we hear back.

However, despite the shortcomings, it’s clear that we need a better, more convenient charging solution for it to be widely adopted, and there really aren’t many options. Charging is likely to be far more convenient than pumping gas, and it entirely depends on how payments are managed.

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