Rivian’s Strategy of Not Accepting NACS Could Be a Big Mistake

Tesla’s charging connector design has recently received a boost, along with its adoption by other automakers and charging service providers. Rivian has abandoned the use of NACS and plans to build its own charging network. Such a strategy by Rivian could be a mistake, as it will reduce the attractiveness of its cars to consumers.

Tesla-designed charging port standard becomes the new standard in the US

Tesla has put a lot of effort into developing a new charging standard for EVs. In practice, it turned out to be much better, more convenient, and more ergonomic than those of competitors. Even if we compare the existing Combined Charging System (CCS) and Tesla charging port visually, we see a big difference. CCS is huge and requires an equally large charging port to be installed in the car. At the same time, the Tesla charging connector is neat and small in size. The company has developed a new technology in order to take EV charging to a new, higher level.

Tesla has the widest network of charging stations in North America and worldwide. With over 10 years of experience and over 20 billion miles of Supercharging, Tesla has the most-proven charging connector of any automaker. It provides AC charging and DC charging up to 1MW in one slim package. The Tesla connector has no moving parts, is half the size, and is twice as powerful as CCS connectors.

Tesla opens up its charging connector to competitors

In November 2022, Tesla opened to other automakers its unique EV charger connector design. With this move, the company encouraged the production of vehicles in North America using the new North American Charging Standard (NACS). In the U.S., Tesla owns over 60% EV market share and has the largest charging network. Ultimately, the universal adoption of NACS will bring huge benefits to automakers, who will make their cars more attractive to consumers. Tesla will soon open its Superchargers in North America to all electric vehicles.

Major U.S. Automakers Adopt NACS

Ford and General Motors have already signed an agreement with Tesla to add the NACS connector to their electric vehicles starting in 2025. This will give owners of their EVs access to over 12,000 Superchargers in the region starting in 2024. The Supercharger Network from Tesla is the subject of its pride and envy from the owners of EVs of other brands. In fact, the deal made Ford and GM EVs even more attractive to consumers.

Rivian does not accept NACS

While the benefits to companies and consumers from adopting NACS are clear, not all American EV automakers are willing to take the step. Last week, Rivian CFO Claire McDonough spoke at the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference. She stated that the company would not accept NACS and would go its own way. The manufacturer aims to build its own Rivian Adventure Network (RAN) using CCS.

RAN progress is too slow

Rivian plans for its charger network to be greatly expanded. As planned, it will include about 600 charging stations in North America, which will offer 3,500 charging connectors. However, progress toward the goal remains very slow. As of April 2023, the company has a total of only 30 chargers. Saying that Rivian is committed to promoting EVs, McDonough mentioned that the company might be open to partnering with other brands, but not now.

Rivian might be late

While Rivian is focused on developing its own charging network, time is running out. The industry in the U.S. has already given a clear signal that it is moving to NACS. Since worrying about convenient charging has always been one of consumers’ biggest fears, this is where Rivian may fall short. Thanks to the Tesla Supercharger Network, EV owners across North America will have access to more than 12,000 additional charging stations and the number will continue to grow. This may be the strongest argument for many consumers who buy EVs.

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