Mandatory Tesla Tech for Texas EV Chargers
Texas has approved a controversial plan to mandate the inclusion of Tesla's technology in electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. To qualify for federal funds, companies must now comply with this requirement, even though there were calls to allow more time for re-engineering and testing the connectors.
Implications for U.S. Highways and Tesla's Goals
The decision by Texas, the largest beneficiary of a $5 billion program to electrify U.S. highways, is being monitored by other states. It marks a significant stride in Tesla CEO Elon Musk's ambition to make the company's technology the standard for U.S. EV charging.
Federal and State Requirements for Charging Systems
Federal rules necessitate companies to offer the Combined Charging System (CCS) as a minimum to be eligible for federal funds. Individual states, however, can impose additional requirements before disbursing the federal funds locally.
The Automotive Industry Embraces Tesla's Standard
Shockwaves were sent through the industry when Ford Motor and General Motors announced their intention to adopt Tesla's North American Charging Standard (NACS) just over two months ago. This prompted several automakers and charging firms to embrace the technology.
Other States' Moves Towards Tesla's Charging Tech
Texas, set to receive and deploy $407.8 million over five years, is planning to mandate Tesla's plugs. Washington and Kentucky have also talked about or implemented similar mandates, reflecting a trend toward Tesla's charging standard.
Challenges and Opposition to the Decision
Some charging companies protested the requirement, citing concerns over Tesla's connector supply chain and certification, which they believed would jeopardize the successful deployment of EV chargers. This led Texas to postpone the vote on the plan twice, seeking to understand the implications of the technology.
Unanimous Approval Despite Concerns
Despite the initial delays and concerns, the Texas Transportation Commission unanimously approved the plan on Wednesday. The two-connector approach will likely cover a minimum of 97% of the current 168,000+ electric vehicles with fast charge ports in the state, according to Humberto Gonzalez, a director at Texas Department of Transportation.