Exclusive-Tesla wins as Texas requires state-backed charging stations to include its plug

By Jarrett Renshaw and Hyunjoo Jin

(Reuters) -Tesla scored a series of victories for its charging technology on Tuesday, capped by Texas saying it would require electric vehicle charging companies to include both Tesla’s standard as well as the nationally recognized CCS if they want to be part of a state program to electrify highways using federal dollars.

Earlier in the day, Reuters was first to report both that electric pickup truck maker Rivian was backing Tesla and that charger maker BTC Power would support the standard. Those announcements follow decisions by GM and Ford to add Tesla charging technology, shunning efforts by the Biden administration to make the Combined Charging System (CCS) the dominant charging standard in the United States.

Texas – home to Tesla’s headquarters and a new car factory complex – is the first state that will mandate Tesla’s charging technology, giving a boost to CEO Elon Musk’s hope of making it the national charging standard.

“The decision by Ford, GM, and now Rivian to adopt NACS changed requirements for Phase 1” of the rollout, the Texas Department of Transportation said in an email to Reuters on Tuesday, adding that it would require direct current fast chargers to have one CCS and one North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector.

Texas’s decision will put a ton of pressure on other states to adopt Tesla’s NACS, said Lew Cox, director of business development at MD7, which helps companies deploy chargers.

“It’ll effectively make an NACS the new charging standard,” Cox said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation earlier this year said that charging companies must provide the CCS to be eligible for up to $7.5 billion in federal funding to build new, high-speed chargers on 7,500 miles (12,070 km) of the nation’s busiest highways.

The Federal Highway Administration on Tuesday acknowledged the industry was rapidly evolving.

The growth of the nation’s EV industry is a sign that public investments are paying dividends, but the policy is always under review, said a Federal Highway Administration spokesperson.

“Our technical experts are having active conversations with automakers, charger manufacturers, and standards setting bodies to ensure federal investment continues to support a reliable, convenient, and user-friendly charging experience for all drivers,” the spokesperson said.

The federal dollars are flowing through the states, which are empowered to tailor their own guidelines as long as they meet minimum federal standards. States are expected to award the first round of funding through the remainder of the year.

Since the Ford and GM announcements, top U.S. charging companies like ChargePoint and EVgo said they would look to add the same standard to their U.S. chargers.

Others states like California, Iowa and Michigan are reviewing the shifting charging market.

And at least one other state is considering giving applicants bonus points on applications if they include the Tesla charging ports.

Tesla shares rose 1.2% in extended trade, after closing up 5.3% on Tuesday.

Tesla said in the U.S. there are approximately 2,000 Supercharger locations and more than 21,000 Supercharger stalls, which represents approximately 60% of the fast-charging plugs operational in the country.

(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw in Philadelphia and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Abhirup Roy in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Sonali Paul)