In November 2022, Tesla publicly released its electric vehicle (EV) charging connector and inlet as the North American Charging Standard (NACS), sharing its patented design and specifications with other EV manufacturers and charging network operators. Since then, other companies have announced plans to integrate the NACS connector and/or inlet.
In July 2023, SAE International began the standardization process for NACS, known as SAE J3400. To achieve standardization status, any technology must undergo the established procedures within a standards development organization (SDO). An open standardization process is crucial because it ensures a thorough peer review of the technology and allows contributions from interested stakeholders. SAE is working to expedite, certify, and standardize SAE J3400 with the goal of completing this process by the end of 2023.
Recognizing the standardization and adoption of SAE J3400, CharIN has established the North America Charging Interoperability (NACI) Task Force to support EV ecosystem interoperability for SAE J3400 and accelerate EV market adoption.
Objectives of the NACI Task Force
The primary objective of the NACI Task Force is to guarantee seamless compatibility and interoperability of SAE J3400 by establishing industry-standard, system-level charging specifications and definitions, such as ensuring interoperability with ISO 15118/ DIN SPEC 70121 standards, developing implementation guidelines and promoting best practices, and establishing certification processes for interoperable products.
How to Get Involved
There is much work to do and we rely heavily on the time and expertise of our CharIN members and the broader community. Please join the NACI Task Force and/or one of the six subgroups to support the development and implementation of the SAE J3400 standard through this form:
6 Subgroups of the NACI Task Force
1. Connection (Plugs, Inlets, Outlets) Subgroup
This subgroup will explore key connection-related questions related to the SAE J3400, including retrofit options, interoperability, user experience, and applicability to various vehicle types. Additionally, the group will discuss voltage ratings and capabilities, cable-related topics, thermal management, testing activities, inlet angles, manufacturing repeatability, and voltage measurements.
2. Communication & Security Subgroup
This subgroup will advance the seamless integration of SAE J3400-related EV and EVSE communication and security systems and accelerate the adoption of reliable and secure charging solutions. The outcomes of this working group will serve as recommendations to SAE, the members of CharIN, and stakeholders in the broader eMobility ecosystem to support the alignment and acceleration of all standardization activities.
3. Safety & Functionality Subgroup
This subgroup is dedicated to assuring user safety and seamless functionality for SAE J3400 between the charging unit and vehicle interface with a focus on adapter safety, coupler system functional safety, and compliance with safety standards. Its objective is to identify gaps in the standard development process, develop guidelines for best practices, and support testing and certification.
4. Market Alignment Subgroup
This subgroup will consolidate and communicate the status and timelines of NACI / SAE J3400 workstreams to market participants and stakeholders. With a focus on identifying and filling information gaps, our work will reduce confusion among consumers, commercial, government, OEMs and infrastructure industry leading to more transparency and adoption.
5. Charging Topology & Grid Integration Subgroup
This subgroup will harmonize SAE J3400 with other grid integration standards and testing activities. The subgroup will expand on grid-related topics outside of SAE J3400’s present scope, which currently only covers vehicle-EVSE charging functions to expedite its release.
6. Multiple PKI Subgroup
This subgroup seeks to rapidly implement interoperability between EVSE and EVs in North America, in an environment of multiple public key infrastructure (PKI) roots. This solution will be short-term until North American certificate trust lists become available to the industry. The near-term solution will be based on ISO-15118 with Plug & Charge capability and utilize cross-recognition.
Why CharIN Supports SAE J3400
At CharIN, we foster cooperation among stakeholders to create a superior charging experience for all EV owners, promote interoperability, and strive for common, inclusive solutions. We acknowledge that Tesla and its NACS charging connector system have played the key role in the initial development of electric transportation and EV charging and will continue to accelerate EV adoption in North America. As the premier convener of stakeholders working towards an interoperable charging system, CharIN has the responsibility to examine the impact of SAE J3400 adoption and encourage the standardization process.
SAE J3400 and CCS share common communication protocols, DIN SPEC 70121 and ISO 15118 based on power line communication (PLC). These communication protocols were initially designed for CCS, but have proven to be versatile, and capable of bridging across various charging standards in North America, extending their applicability even beyond SAE J3400.
The SAE J3400 and CCS charging standards have the potential to offer a seamless user experience. As demand for electric mobility grows, maintaining trusted and convenient charging solutions is paramount. Consumers demand that both SAE J3400 and CCS continue evolving to meet expectations for charging reliability, which requires consistent interoperability.
Collaboration will help improve user experience and reliability, as well as safety – all while reducing market complexity, eliminating consumer confusion, and accelerating EV adoption.
CharIN’s role in SAE J3400
CharIN aspires to shorten and ease consumer uncertainty about EV charging to prevent any delay of EV adoption. As such, CharIN encourages the standardization of SAE J3400, and will play a pivotal role in shaping and enhancing the North American charging ecosystem through a multifaceted approach, including the following activities:
1. Ensuring Interoperability: CharIN is a champion of interoperability, ensuring that EV charging systems from various manufacturers and networks seamlessly communicate and function together. By creating recommendations to close gaps and white space in the standards, CharIN guidelines ensure interoperability. This fosters a cohesive EV charging environment that benefits both consumers and the industry as a whole.
2. Developing Advanced Use Cases: As the leading EV charging association, CharIN provides multiple platforms for interoperability and conformance testing, as well as the definition of advanced use cases. This task force encompasses innovative charging technologies and addressing emerging challenges within the EV charging landscape. By staying at the forefront of technical advancements, CharIN contributes to the continuous improvement and evolution of EV charging solutions.
3. Defining Testing Processes, Best Practices for Implementation, Certification Program Development, and Accreditation of Testing Labs: CharIN provides a Conformance Certification Program including standardized test case packages, validated CharIN Conformance Test Systems (CCTS) and recognized Testing Houses. This helps streamline the certification process for EV charging equipment and networks, ensuring that they meet the required standards and specifications. It fosters a culture of accountability and quality assurance within the industry. CharIN augments standardization work with critical technology and interoperability testing and other auxiliary efforts to accelerate technology validation and development.
4. Internationalization of Standards and Alignment of Standards Development Organizations: As a global organization, CharIN actively contributes to the internationalization of standards, collaborating with organizations such as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This involvement helps align North American charging standards with international counterparts, facilitating global harmonization and simplifying the adoption of EV technology on a broader scale.
5. Voice of the Charging Ecosystem: By focusing on these critical areas and aligning key stakeholders, CharIN plays a vital role in driving the growth and success of electric mobility and charging infrastructure in North America and beyond.
Register for the CharIN North America Newsletter
Stay informed about recent developments in the e-mobility field.
Thought Leadership and Updates
CharIN Office North America
NACI Task Force Chair
NACI Task Force Subgroup Co-Leads
Connection (Plugs, Inlets, Outlets)
Communication & Security
Safety & Functionality
Charging Topology & Grid Integration