Can we get the NACS?

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jray3

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 6, 2011
Messages
1,863
Location
Tacoma area, WA
We know that the hackers here have the knack, but can an i-MiEV get the NACS? For those who haven't noticed, a tectonic shift has occurred over the past month, with the 'done deal' of a CCS1 "Frankenplug" future in North America upended by the legacy OEMs in favor of TESLA-cum North American Charging Standard (NACS). I applaud this move as one who dreaded EVer owning a Frankenplug, but was unwilling to spend the cash for a new Tesla or cast a financial vote in favor of Elon's boorish behavior.
Here's a summary: https://insideevs.com/news/674092/sae-standardize-tesla-nacs-charging-connector/

One more reason I'm optimistic about the move to NACS is the possibility of adapting CHAdeMO cars to use those stations. We all saw how quickly Tesla was able to issue an adaptor for the Model S to use our CHAdeMO stations, and that the adaptor was quickly copied by Alibaba vendors once TESLA discontinued it in North America (though they still offer it in Australia, hmmm?!), I believe that it would be similarly simple to offer an adaptor from an NACS cable to the CHAdeMO car, and that it could be EVen more compact, more the size of a 16 oz beer can. Plugging the small NACS connector into the large CHAdeMO footprint with a bit of hardware in-between would be much more elegant than the bass-ackwards Superdock Solution, which was akin to an ant carrying a pig into the BBQ.

However, there's no OEM other than the inept Mitsubishi/Nissan with obvious interest in offering such. I posit that TESLA has EVen a stronger interest to offer us the adaptor,being the early adopters who obviously voted for superior designs, but are more thrifty than the Biff and Buffy bunch that have abandoned their Bimmer for a Model Y.
 
Just yesterday, I found the start of a series of YouTube videos by a guy who was going to attempt to do a CCS conversion on a Leaf. (That would get you most of the way to NACS, assuming the solution could be ported to an i-MiEV.) However, it seems he only got through part 0 and part 1, and that was last year. So it may be abandoned.
 
jray3 said:
... Plugging the small NACS connector into the large CHAdeMO footprint with a bit of hardware in-between would be much more elegant than the bass-ackwards Superdock Solution, which was akin to an ant carrying a pig into the BBQ....
Aw, jray3, I wouldn't be too hard on Tesla as, after thinking about all the alternatives, I think that their solution is rather elegant, if not ingenious. I mean, if you have a Tesla you just pull the plug out and stick it into your car. If you have a CCS vehicle you quickly enable that particular station using the Tesla app and then the handle+dock come out and you simply plug it in and it charges with no more fussing.

I've used the Magic Dock at the Scotts Valley Supercharger on my Kona Electric and it was incredibly simple - especially compared to my struggles with Electrify America.

Back on topic, dunno what Tesla is going to do in the long run. One would think that selling a seriously hacker-proof encoded adapter for CCS and CHAdeMO would be more cost-effective for Tesla than retrofitting their stations... although nowadays nothing is seriously hacker-proof.

CHAdeMO would be an easy adapter, as a variation of that was their original protocol. I've successfully used my CHAdeMO==>Tesla adapter many times, especially in Canada, on my 2013 Tesla MS85. 50kW is still better than the ac alternatives, even though I have two 240vac 40A OBCs in my Tesla (theoretical maximum 80A at 240vac), there are pitifully few J1772 stations that go over 32A.

As usual, Tesla is mum about what they're doing, I'm hoping they come out with a CHAdeMO adapter for the Leaf/i-MiEV/Soul crowd first to test the waters...
 
kiev said:
i haven't seen the NACS plugs yet, but i got a big ol' pair of truck nuts on my trailer hitch. :lol:

Post your pics somewhere. I used to hang my charging cables from a gun rack in the back window of MR BEAN. I was at a conference years ago when John Voelker was chairing a panel discussion on how to make EVs appeal to the Everyman. During a long silence, I blurted out, "Well, ahve gawt a gun rack in my i-MiEV" and brought great levity to the room.

Too bad GM's trying to launch electric pickups with the Hummer pig followed by an overpriced unibody "EValanche" billed as a Work Truck... That oughtta be real appealing to the tradesmen...
 
Replacing the J1772 plug with NACS is very simple, but CHAdeMO is going to be quite the beast, given the lack of any CCS adapter ever being available. I believe Tesla just uses CCS as their base Supercharger protocol to handshake with the car and then switches to some proprietary communication when charging a Tesla vehicle.

I’m optimistic that a converter/adapter can be made to work, but I wonder if it’ll ever happen given the spacing between Supercharger locations currently and the number of vehicles that would use it. Lately, I only drive the I-MiEV if I know exactly where I’m going that day. If there are doubts that I may go further, I take the Bolt or Tesla. I imagine a fair number of sub-100 mile EV owners have another car available to them. Many were early adopters, and newer owners likely pick up cheap EVs for commuter cars.

While the LEAF is currently the cheapest new EV on the market, a Bolt with CCS is just a few thousand more, and the Model 3 is rocketing downward in price.
 
PV1 said:
Replacing the J1772 plug with NACS is very simple...
I'm not so sure. Tesla use the same pins for AC and DC, so that implies a bunch of expensive contactors and some tricky interlock circuitry so that the wrong gender of power doesn't go to the wrong place.

Edit: I forgot that the car already has the DC contactors. See next two posts.
 
For AC charging, it's J1772 with a different style plug. If you swap the I-MiEV's J1772 connector for NACS and plug a Supercharger into it, nothing will happen. The Supercharger signals the car to DC charge, which the I-MiEV won't understand and will likely error out.

Teslas have contactors on the incoming power lines to bypass the on-board charger and send DC charge straight to the pack. Vehicles that adopt NACS will have to do the same, but since we're looking to retrofit NACS to the I-MiEV, the easiest way (if even possible) is to have a pair of NACS connectors on the car, one for AC, and one for DC. To get DC charging via NACS on the I-MiEV, it would replace the CHAdeMO port and would require circuitry to translate NACS to CHAdeMO communication.
 
Yes, for AC only charging it should be easy. Also, I forgot that the DC contactors are already there; to allow DC charging safely, it's mainly a case of ensuring that the on board charger can safely with battery voltage at its input. At worst, it could just have an AC rated relay to disconnect one pole. An AC rated relay is a lot cheaper than a DC rated contactor, and it would only have to be rated for 16 A or so (assuming that the original OBC is retained). An auxiliary contact could be used to ensure that the relay contact really is off during DC charging. Or as you say, you could use the two NACs sockets, but that seems wrong somehow.

As for the protocol of DC charging, that's a whole different matter. But presumably, that's all part of the Tesla specification, which is presumably more open than CHAdeMO or CCS (as in, you presumably don't need to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to buy the NACS specifications).
 
coulomb said:
As for the protocol of DC charging, that's a whole different matter. But presumably, that's all part of the Tesla specification, which is presumably more open than CHAdeMO or CCS (as in, you presumably don't need to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to buy the NACS specifications).
I dunno why you'd presume that. If anything, I'd presume the opposite.

Anyway, the plan, for all non-Tesla cars, is to speak the CCS protocol over the "NACS" hardware. Tesla has their own protocol, but they aren't opening that, AFAIK.
 
PV1 said:
... but since we're looking to retrofit NACS to the I-MiEV, the easiest way (if even possible) is to have a pair of NACS connectors on the car, one for AC, and one for DC.
Yuck. I hope not.

For my taste, I think first choice would be to have a fully-functioning (AC/DC) NACS port on one side, and keep the CHAdeMO on the other. Second choice, two fully-functioning NACS ports, one on each side.

To get DC charging via NACS on the I-MiEV, it would replace the CHAdeMO port and would require circuitry to translate NACS to CHAdeMO communication.
Unless you're building an external adapter, it would probably make more sense to have the CCS/NACS controller talk to the battery management system directly.
 
wmcbrine said:
Just yesterday, I found the start of a series of YouTube videos by a guy who was going to attempt to do a CCS conversion on a Leaf.
I should follow this up -- this is a different guy, with an external CCS to CHAdeMO adapter. Apparently, it works, but it's kind of at the proof-of-concept stage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfCaqdUFx3Q
 
wmcbrine, thanks for this video link. Even though this is a demo for CCS2, I'd be willing to bet that a companion CCS1 exists. Next step is to put an adapter into production for all us thousands of CHAdeMO owners so that we'll be ready for the NACS-to-CCS adapter, if no one comes up with an off-the-shelf NACS-to-CHAdeMO adapter.

Even though lugging two adapters would work for us iMiEV owners, I'm afraid that in my case my days of long-distance i-MiEV road tripping are now history and a pleasant adventures memory. Our two aging i-MiEVs continue happily serving us as daily workponies which nowadays rarely rely on public charging, the Kona Electric meeting the medium-distance needs without public charging, and the ten-year-old Tesla MS85 (with its NACS, and a CHAdeMO adapter) continuing as our family's superb long-distance conveyance. The Corbin Sparrows still get used weekly for a quick hop to the market (ten-mile round trip) and are the center of attention at car shows, but without dcfc don't need NACS. :geek:
 
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