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What are NCAS and CCS?

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Tesla has been pioneering the electric vehicle market, and with it came their proprietary charging cable standard called NCAS (North American Charging Standard). Tesla’s Supercharger network became the gold standard for EV charging, offering fast and the most reliable charging options across the globe. The Tesla charging cable, with its unique connector, became synonymous with the brand.

As more and more automakers introduced electric vehicles into the market and with pressure and incentives from the government, a pressing need arose for a unified charging infrastructure which would enable seamless compatibility between different EV models. Tesla created a standard for its connector while the rest of the auto industry chose another standard called CCS (Common Charging Standard). You can see from the picture above the slim Tesla NCAS connector (black) is much easier to use than the bulky CCS (grey) connector. A Tesla car can charge at any of Teslas 1,500+ Supercharger locations or at any other public charger by using an adapter. EVs other than Tesla can only charge at one of non-Tesla charging stations which are reported to be unreliable. I have used both and can tell you there is a really big difference.  

 Both GM and Ford recognized the need for compatibility and understood they had to set aside their rivalry to work together for the greater good of the electric vehicle industry. Under the banner of progress and cooperation, according to chatGPT, representatives from GM and Ford embarked on a series of secret meetings. Their goal was to discuss the possibility of adopting Tesla’s charging cable standard as the industry norm. Tesla had been pushing for the idea. It is good for them because they charge money for the use of the Superchargers. The talks, shrouded in secrecy, marked a new era of collaboration in an industry driven by competition.

The discussions were not without challenges. GM and Ford had their own charging cable designs and ecosystems in place, and adapting to Tesla’s standard would require significant adjustments. However, they recognized a unified charging standard would benefit the entire electric vehicle ecosystem, making it easier for consumers to switch between different brands and reducing the complexity of charging infrastructure development. 

After months of negotiations, the historic decision was made. General Motors and Ford jointly announced their adoption of the Tesla charging cable standard. The news sent shockwaves through the automotive industry, signaling a turning point in the competition-fueled landscape. Industry experts applauded the move, recognizing the significance of collaboration for the advancement of electric vehicles. The announcements were also well received by Wall Street. Ford and GM were both up, and Tesla was up a lot.

With the decision made, GM and Ford went to work. Their engineers began retrofitting their existing charging infrastructure to accommodate the Tesla connector, ensuring compatibility with existing and future Tesla vehicles. At the same time, they developed plans to install Supercharger-compatible stations across their networks, further expanding the reach and convenience of the unified charging standard.

In the end, the story of GM and Ford adopting the Tesla charging cable standard became a shining example of industry collaboration and the power of setting aside rivalry for the greater good. It showed that even the fiercest of competitors could come together to advance a shared vision, revolutionizing an entire industry in the process.