Ask

Real Owners. Real Experience. Real Answers.

Ask is a program from the OEVA to answer your EV questions. Send your questions to ask@oeva.org and we will direct it to an OEVA volunteer with expertise in that area to answer your question. We plan to compile the best questions and answers into categories on this page to form a FAQ (frequently asked questions).

Here is a great question we've received:

We have a Ford Lightning (all thanks to your big event last summer at the Portland Tesla dealership I might add!) and apparently Ford has partnered with Tesla to allow access to their network of superchargers—which is a good thing! But there’s a distinction of some sort between superchargers, and I’m not sure what that is... the Ford website says we can only use an “upgraded Tesla Supercharger” for charging a non-Tesla EV. What do they mean by that? What’s an “upgraded” Tesla Supercharger, and how do we determine which stations have them? I was told the Detroit OR supercharger is NOT an upgraded station (which we would need to use on our way to Sisters)... so apparently we’d need to stop in Salem to get a full charge before going over the Santiam Pass, which we can do—it’s just less convenient.


The second question I have is regarding the new supercharger they recently opened up in Sisters... is THAT ONE an “upgraded” charger? (I sure hope so!)

Here is the answer we came up with:

I'm glad to hear you got an EV, and the Lightning is quite a vehicle. I love how all the EV truck models are including AC power output. They can really help when there is a power outage, like we had last winter when the temperatures were in the teens and the power went out for days.

Tesla released their style of charging connector as a standard, calling it the North America Charging Standard, NACS. The adapter that you got from Ford adapts the NACS connector on the the supercharger to the CCS connector on your Lightning. So the hardware can connect. But for the truck and the supercharger to communicate with each other the supercharger has to understand the CCS communication protocol. Not all superchargers are able to do that.

Tesla has gone through several generations of superchargers over the years. First and second generation superchargers max out at 150 kilowatts or less, and they don't have the ability to speak the CCS protocol. The most recent generation, Version 3, tops out at 250 kilowatts. The current production V3 superchargers all support both the original Tesla communication protocol and the CCS communication protocol that your Lightning uses. Tesla has also upgraded many early V3 superchargers to speak CCS protocol.

V4 superchargers are just starting to roll out. These are expected to support up to 800 volt charging, and all of them should support CCS communications. V4 supercharger pedestals also have longer cables, which make them easier to connect to brands which have their charge ports in different locations than Tesla, which all have their charge port in the driver's side back corner.

While a particular V3 supercharger may be capable of communicating with your Lightning, it doesn't mean that Tesla has opened it up for use by non-Tesla vehicles. Some supercharger sites are very busy, so Tesla has limited those to only Tesla cars. As they are able to add more supercharges to those sites they may open them to other brands in the future.

A very few V3 superchargers have a "Magic Dock" that has a built-in detachable adapter for CCS, but those are quite rare and Tesla is going with the Tesla-style NACS plug for almost all new installations.

Detroit has an older V2 supercharger, so it isn't compatible with the CCS communication upgrade. So topping up at a V3 supercharger in Salem before heading east, though a bit inconvenient, is your best option at this time. As far as I've seen, all of the new superchargers, except maybe for a few 72 kW "urban" superchargers, are the 250 kW versions. The newly opened Sisters supercharger is V3 with CCS communications.

Supercharge.info is a great resource for looking at existing and upcoming superchargers. They have added a new feature where they tell you which superchargers are V3 with CCS support for non-Tesla vehicles like yours. The Tesla website also has a dedicated page to NACS charging for non-Tesla vehicles at www.tesla.com/NACS.

Just pop an email to Ask and we'll take it from there. We'll send you an answer (and our thanks for helping to contribute to building our FAQ).