Kentucky Becomes the First State to Mandate Tesla Charging Plug for Federal Funding

In a ground-breaking move, Kentucky has become the first state to require electric vehicle (EV) charging companies to include Tesla’s charging plug as part of their infrastructure if they wish to secure federal funds from a state program aimed at electrifying highways.

This decision follows plans from Texas and Washington to implement similar requirements, making Tesla’s “North American Charging Standard” (NACS) and the Combined Charging System (CCS) essential for qualifying for federal dollars. This article delves into the implications of Kentucky’s mandate and the growing momentum behind NACS adoption in the private sector.

The Rise of NACS

The adoption of Tesla’s charging technology by Ford and General Motors earlier this year set off a chain reaction within the industry. Automakers like Rivian and Volvo, as well as charging companies such as FreeWire Technologies and Volkswagen’s Electrify America, have since pledged to adopt the NACS standard. Even standards organisation SAE International aims to establish an industry standard configuration for NACS within the next six months.


Resistance and Concerns


Despite the increasing momentum of NACS, certain players within the EV charging industry are attempting to temper its adoption. Companies like ChargePoint and ABB, clean energy groups, and the Texas Department of Transportation have expressed concerns and called for more time to test and standardise Tesla’s connectors before implementing a mandate. They argue that Texas’s plan is premature and emphasise the need to ensure the safety and interoperability of Tesla’s connectors.


Implications for Other States


Kentucky’s pioneering move may set a precedent for other states to follow suit. Given that California is Tesla’s birthplace, its former headquarters, and a leading state in EV sales, it may consider implementing a similar mandate in the future. While California’s Department of Transportation did not comment on the matter, the Department of Energy has not responded to inquiries regarding potential insights.



Kentucky’s Requirements


Kentucky’s request for proposal for the state’s EV charging program outlines the specific requirements. Each charging port must be equipped with a CCS connector and have the capability to connect and charge vehicles equipped with NACS-compliant ports. By imposing these requirements, Kentucky aims to align its charging infrastructure with international standards and ensure compatibility with a wide range of EV models.


Federal Funding and the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program


The U.S. Department of Transportation previously mandated that charging companies must have CCS plugs, an international charging standard, to qualify for federal funds earmarked for the deployment of 500,000 public EV chargers by 2030. The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program (NEVI) has allocated $5 billion in funding to states to support their EV charging initiatives.

Kentucky’s requirement for Tesla’s charging plug reflects the federal government’s emphasis on standardisation and interoperability within the EV charging industry.




Kentucky’s ground-breaking mandate, making Tesla’s charging plug a requirement for federal funding, highlights the increasing significance of NACS adoption in the private sector.

While some industry players have expressed concerns and called for additional testing and standardisation, the overall trend suggests that other states may follow in Kentucky’s footsteps. As the EV market continues to grow, the importance of establishing standardised charging infrastructure becomes increasingly apparent, ensuring seamless charging experiences for EV owners across the country.

Source: TechCrunch