The Combined Charging System standard‘s days in North America may well be numbered. That’s the spec that the auto industry arrived at for electric vehicles to fast charge using DC, which combines the five-pin J1772 plug (for AC charging) with two pins for direct current. But the connector and its cable are big and unwieldy, unlike the more elegant alternative created by Tesla (called the North American Charging Standard), which has had its own walled garden of charging infrastructure for over a decade.
Until now, that is, because Tesla is letting other automakers over that wall. First it was Ford. Then General Motors joined in. And today Rivian revealed that it, too, is switching from CCS to NACS, Tesla’s competing standard, in 2024. Unlike the two automakers that preceded it, Rivian did not have to join Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a Twitter Space to announce the news.
“We’re excited to work with Tesla and to see collaborations like this help advance the world toward carbon neutrality. The adoption of the North American Charging Standard will enable our existing and future customers to leverage Tesla’s expansive Supercharger network while we continue to build out our Rivian Adventure Network. We look forward to continuing to find new ways to accelerate EV adoption,” said Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe in a statement.
In an email to customers, Rivian said that it would make adapters available, so people should not wait for the factory to switch over to the NACS port from CCS1. It also says that it will add Tesla charging sites to its mobile and vehicle navigation apps. From 2025, it will start building NACS ports into its vehicles.
Like GM, Rivian is in the midst of deploying thousands of DC fast chargers with CCS1 plugs, and like GM, Rivian says that the switch to NACS does not affect those plans. As with Ford and GM, there are no details as to the terms of the deal between Rivian and Tesla.
Now we wait to see which OEM will be next—Volkswagen Group and Hyundai Motor Group are currently the two automakers with the highest volume of EV sales in North America that are still sticking with CCS1, at least for now.