In a move aimed at streamlining the charging experience on its EVs, Honda has decided to hop on the NACS connector bandwagon. This move aligns the automaker with a growing trend in the North American EV arena.
To add a bit of context, Tesla, in its bid to standardize EV charging, threw open its North American Charging Standard (NACS) to all and sundry last year. Since then, automakers made a beeline to incorporate it, seeing the potential benefits of joining Tesla’s Supercharger network.
The spotlight today, however, is on Honda. The Japanese auto giant, in a quite expected move, has announced its decision to use the Tesla-designed NACS connector for its North American electric vehicles. This marks a significant shift in the industry as this very connector is touted to become the de facto charging standard for EVs in the region. Why's it significant, you ask? Well, imagine one universal phone charger for every brand. Convenient, right? That's the direction in which EV charging in North America seems to be heading.
So, when is all this set to unfold? By 2025. But, there's a small catch for those early adopters. Any EV models that Honda rolls out in North America prior to 2025 will come equipped with the Combined Charging System (CCS) port. But, breathe easy, these vehicles will be compatible with NACS through - you guessed it - a charging adapter.
Honda's compatriot, Nissan, grabbed the headlines nearly two months ago as the first Japanese automaker to embrace the NACS connector system. Honda’s EVs, along with their luxury division Acura, will now also get charged up via the NACS port. One might even wonder if the age-old phrase, "If you can't beat them, join them" has made its way to the automakers' playbook.
Interestingly, Honda’s embrace of the Tesla-led NACS system comes after the automaker joined a consortium to roll out an EV charging network across North America. Among the fellow consortium members? Oh, just some names you might recognize: BMW, General Motors, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, and Stellantis.
But this shift in allegiance begs the question: Is the NACS connector now set to rule the roost? If we were to follow the trends and the buzzing activity around it, it certainly seems so. With companies like Volvo, General Motors, Ford, and Rivian all announcing their commitment to NACS in 2023 alone, the writing, as they say, might be on the wall for other standards.
However, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s not forget that for NACS to be the ultimate standard across the U.S., it needs to clear the standardization process. Tesla, along with the U.S. Joint Office of Energy and Transportation and SAE International, is on the case. But until that final stamp of approval comes through, all eyes will be on the remaining automakers to see who gets charged up next.