Buying Any EV but a Tesla Makes No Sense Right Now

  • Several car companies say their EVs will be built with the Tesla charging standard starting in 2025.
  • It begs the question why a non-Tesla EV shopper wouldn’t delay their purchase until then.
  • Otherwise, buying an EV other than Tesla now means its charging tech will soon be in the minority.

It’s supposed to be a huge advantage to non-Tesla car companies that they’re switching to Tesla’s charging tech. But experts say it might be just one example of why car shoppers should hold off on buying an EV other than a Tesla — at least for the next two years.

Ford, GM, Rivian, Volvo, Polestar, and more have all said they will build their electric vehicles with Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) beginning in 2025 so that their customers will have access to Tesla’s Supercharger network. The network has long been one of Elon Musk’s biggest strengths. If a driver currently owns one of those companies’ EVs, that driver can actually plug into Tesla charging sites beginning at various points next year, so long as they have an adapter.

Alongside these players, charging companies like Electrify America and other competitors have pledged to switch to NACS as well. (Until recently, essentially everyone but Tesla operated with the Combined Charging System, known as CCS.) 

With automakers, charging providers, and more moving to Tesla’s tech, CCS will be far less popular in the coming years.

“This is the risk at any point in time when you buy into a technology that evolves: Your technology feels out of date at best and obsolete at worst,” Karl Brauer, executive analyst at, told Insider. “Almost all the people who have EVs, except Tesla owners, are looking at futzing around with adapters for the rest of their ownership or somehow trying to pay to have a new plug system put on their car.”

Out of style

The transition away from CCS won’t happen overnight — and adapters exist — but why would a car-buyer purchase a new electric vehicle (other than Tesla) with CCS before then?

For the long average lifespan of a car — not to mention what happens when these cars enter the used market — at most they have two years without NACS dominance.

“If you’re about to spend $30, $40, $70, $100,000 and now, all the plugs on these cars except for Teslas are technically obsolete, all going to be replaced in the next one to three years with a new system,” Brauer added, “now they all know that in the next year or two, you shouldn’t buy a vehicle.”

It makes the next few years a particularly unique period in the EV evolution. Early EV adopters over the past five or 10 years had tech that largely didn’t change. The EV buyers in five to 10 years will be buying tech that’s more advanced and stabilized. But as far as this period in between, with prices dropping and the charging shift, some experts say the industry shouldn’t be surprised if consumers hold off on their purchase.

That could be a crisis for automakers spending billions of dollars to electrify their lineups now — and especially for those with inventory piling up in the short term. It could also cause challenges down the line: Used EVs equipped with CCS might not sell as well as those with NACS once NACS is widespread.

Charging is only one part of the problem

As EV tech overall gets better, including everything from range improvements to faster charging to bidirectional charging, lower costs, and battery breakthroughs, buyers might wait (or go to Tesla if they feel the company’s tech is more future-proof for the foreseeable future). 

“The charging connector is going to be perhaps a significant issue and delays some buyers pulling the trigger on a new EV,” Loren McDonald, CEO of market analysis firm EVAdoption, said. “But I think most of those buyers understand that there are six to 10 other hardware and software advancements that will make that EV better, and when you add it all up, that’s maybe a more compelling reason to hold off rather than just the NACS versus CCS connector.”

McDonald said he anticipates purchase delays and a near-term uptick in EV leasing

“The more we see these pricing fluctuations and as well as all these hardware issues, a lot of people are going to realize that leasing is maybe the better way to go,” McDonald added, “because it means I can get, in essence, the new iPhone on wheels every three years and I don’t have to worry about the residuals, that I have a car that’s now technologically obsolete.

“There’s this noise unlike we’ve ever seen before of all these future models that are going to be better, faster, cheaper, more range, et cetera,” he said. “I think that’s the real issue.”

Have you bought an electric vehicle from an automaker who said they are switching to NACS in the next two years? Are you planning to buy an EV in 2025 once it comes built with NACS? Do you have a tip or opinion to share? Contact this reporter at

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