Mercedes-Benz just became the first German carmaker to join the NACS trend. The company will integrate Tesla’s de facto North American Charging Standard into its EV fleet in the US and Canada from 2025.
At the same time, Mercedes is sticking to its plans for its own HPC network.
Mercedes-Benz follows in the footsteps laid by carmakers before it.
While the first German manufacturer to do so, Volvo Cars was the first European brand to sign up for Tesla’s charging technology, soon followed by Polestar; before them came Ford, General Motors, and Rivian.
As for Mercedes-Benz, customers in North America will get access to Tesla’s Supercharger network starting next year; however, they will need an adapter while the vehicles will keep their CCS1 connection.
Only in 2025 will newly delivered electric cars from Mercedes have the NACS port developed by Tesla integrated instead of the CCS charging socket.
Fast charging at CCS-only stations will then only be possible for these vehicles with an adapter. However, numerous charge point operators in the US have already announced that they will retrofit NACS charging cables.
Even the VW subsidiary Electrify America had announced this step, and Volkswagen is examining taking the same step as Mercedes, according to statements made by the Group last week.
In fact, VW was almost expected to be the first German carmaker to announce NACS integration, not Mercedes.
Mercedes’ charging network to offer CCS1 and NACS
Like Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz had plans to build its own network of high power charges and, in today’s announcement, made sure that this was still the case.
The carmaker wants to simultaneously expand the Mercedes-Benz Charging Network with more than 2,500 high-power chargers in North America to provide a “best-in-class charging experience”.
While current Mercedes electric cars will be able to recharge with the adapter only at the few Supercharger locations approved by Tesla for all manufacturers, the aim is to convince more customers to make the switch: “The first Mercedes-Benz charging stations in North America will open in Q4 2023 and will be equipped with both CCS1 and NACS plugs.”
“Our strategic priority is clear: Building the world’s most desirable cars. To accelerate the shift to electric vehicles, we are dedicated to elevating the entire EV-experience for our customers – including fast, convenient, and reliable charging solutions wherever their Mercedes-Benz takes them,” said Mercedes CEO Ola Källenius.
“That’s why we are committed to building our global Mercedes-Benz High-Power Charging Network, with the first sites opening this year. In parallel, we are also implementing NACS in our vehicles, allowing drivers to access an expansive network of high-quality charging offerings in North America.”
Globally, Mercedes-Benz plans to establish more than 2,000 Charging Hubs in North America, Europe, China and other markets by the end of the decade.
As for Tesla’s technology becoming the North American Charging Standard, the company released the design in November 2022. The slim plug and compact charging port in the vehicle enable (single-phase) AC charging as well as DC fast charging – the latter for a long time exclusively at Tesla’s own Superchargers.
Since carmakers such as Ford, General Motors, Rivian, Volvo and Polestar have announced in recent weeks that they will install the NACS charging port in their North American models from 2025, numerous CPOs and charging infrastructure manufacturers have also announced that they will also offer NACS at their charging stations in future, in addition to CCS1, CHAdeMO and the US AC standard J1772 cables.
Even though NACS is not yet a certified standard – both SAE and the CCS organisation CharIN have announced corresponding procedures – with the advances of the major manufacturers and now also the charging industry, NACS could become a de facto standard that no manufacturer in North America will be able to bypass before the certification process has even been completed.