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Kentucky is the latest state to mandate Tesla’s charging plug

Kentucky now requires electric vehicle charging companies to include Tesla’s charging outlet if they want federal funds from a state program to electrify highways, Reuters reports.

The plan went into effect Friday, making Kentucky the first state to officially mandate Tesla charging technology. Texas and Washington have also shared plans that would require charging companies to include Tesla’s “North American Charging Standard” (NACS), as well as the Combined Charging System (CCS), if they want to qualify for the federal dollars.

The Tesla charging plug swing began when Ford said in May that it would build future electric vehicles with Tesla charging technology. General Motors quickly followed, causing a domino effect. Now, a range of automakers like Rivian and Volvo and charging companies like FreeWire Technologies and Volkswagen’s Electrify America have said they will adopt the NACS standard. Standards organization SAE International also said it aims to create a standard NACS configuration in six months or less.

Some pockets of the electric vehicle charging industry are trying to temper the increased momentum of NACS. A group of electric vehicle charging companies like ChargePoint and ABB, along with clean energy groups and even the Texas DOT, have written to the Texas Transportation Commission asking for more time to redesign and test Tesla’s connectors before implement a proposed mandate. In a letter seen by Reuters, they say the Texas plan is premature and needs time to properly standardize, test and certify the safety and interoperability of Tesla’s connectors.

Despite the setback, it is clear that NACS is catching on, at least in the private sector. If the trend of automakers and charging companies to fall in line is anything to go by, we can continue to expect states to follow in Kentucky’s wake.

California may soon follow, as it’s the birthplace of Tesla, the automaker’s former headquarters and current “engineering headquarters,” not to mention it leads the country in terms of sales of Tesla and electric vehicles. The state DOT had no comment, and the California Department of Energy did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for information.

According to Kentucky’s Request for Proposal for the State’s Electric Vehicle Charging Program, each port must be equipped with a CCS connector and be capable of connecting and charging vehicles equipped with NACS-compliant ports.

The U.S. Department of Transportation earlier this year required charging companies to have CCS outlets — which are considered an international charging standard — in order to qualify for federal funds intended to roll out 500,000 public EV chargers. by 2030. The Infrastructure Program (NEVI) offers $5 billion to states.


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