Tesla's NACS Connector Standardization: SAE Takes the Wheel, Volvo Joins the Race

By Kevin Armstrong
SAE International is set to help standardize the NACS charging standard
SAE International is set to help standardize the NACS charging standard
Not a Tesla App

In a significant move for the EV industry, SAE International, formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers, is to set performance standards for Tesla's NACS (North American Charging Standard) connector.

To expand the compatibility of the proprietary charger network beyond Tesla vehicles, this move has the potential to redraw the boundaries of the EV charging ecosystem. Until now, Tesla's exclusive NACS connector was engineered for its global Supercharger network, consisting of approximately 17,800 Superchargers in the US alone.

SAE's Role in Ensuring Standardization and Compatibility

In response to the significant shift towards NACS, SAE has decided to set the stage for this connector's future. The standards proposed by SAE will dictate how the plugs interface with charging stations, establish charging speeds, and set requirements for reliability and cybersecurity. Although the decision seems to potentially mark the end of the road for new CCS1 charger plugs, the thousands of existing CCS-enabled EVs guarantee this design won't disappear soon.

A spokesperson for SAE has clarified that the organization is not choosing the NACS connector over CCS but responding to its widespread adoption. The goal is to ensure that the most popular charging system is standardized and compatible with a wide range of EVs.

Consumer Demand Drives Major Shift in Charging Standards

Interestingly, the transition toward standardizing the NACS connector appears to be primarily consumer-driven. The number of NACS-equipped vehicles on the road significantly outweighs those with CCS connectors, nearly two to one. Given the technical challenges and infrastructure issues encountered by alternative charging networks such as Electrify America, ChargePoint, and EVgo, it's no wonder that most EV owners favor Tesla's reliable Supercharger network.

Reacting to this trend, major automakers, including Ford and GM, have announced their plans to align with Tesla's charging system by manufacturing EVs equipped with NACS connectors. This week, Volvo made a similar announcement, signing an agreement to join Tesla's Supercharger network starting in 2025. It's important to note that while automakers won't be charged a licensing fee for adopting NACS, EV owners will still have to pay to use Tesla's charging stations.

This new chapter in the EV charging story signifies a more unified future that is not just about driving electric vehicles but about making electric driving more accessible to all.

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Tesla Targets Sentry Mode Vampire Drain: Upcoming Update to Slash Power Use by 40%

By Kevin Armstrong
Sentry Mode Update is Coming
Sentry Mode Update is Coming

In an exchange on X, Drew Baglino, Tesla’s Senior Vice President of Powertrain and Energy Engineering, addressed the concerns regarding the power consumption of Tesla’s Sentry Mode. Responding to a user inquiry, Baglino confirmed the company’s commitment to reducing the feature's energy use by approximately 40% through a software update expected in Q2, which begins on April 1.

This announcement follows feedback from Tesla owners regarding the 'vampire drain' experienced when using Sentry Mode, highlighting Tesla's responsive approach to customer feedback and its dedication to continuous improvement. Another X user stated that there should be a breakdown or battery usage. This information already exists, but Baglino politely responded: The energy app provides a wealth of information about where your energy goes. He also linked to our Not a Tesla App article explaining that system.

Understanding the Drain of Sentry Mode

Sentry Mode is an advanced security feature for Tesla vehicles, leveraging the car’s cameras and sensors to monitor and record surroundings for potential threats when parked. Sentry Mode has proven invaluable for vehicle security by activating various deterrents, including pulsing headlights and alarm sounds.

Despite its benefits, the feature’s energy consumption, referred to as “vampire drain,” has been a concern, with estimates suggesting a small yet consistent drain on the vehicle's battery life. By optimizing Sentry Mode's power usage, Tesla enhances the feature's efficiency and extends the usability for owners, particularly when parking for extended periods without access to charging facilities.

Battery Management: Recognizing the importance of battery preservation, Sentry Mode automatically deactivates when the battery level falls to 20%, ensuring that the vehicle remains operational for essential travel.

Activation and Customization: Owners can activate Sentry Mode via the vehicle's touchscreen or mobile app, with options to customize settings, such as disabling sounds or excluding specific locations, tailoring the security feature to individual preferences and requirements.

Tesla's forthcoming software update aims to significantly reduce Sentry Mode's power usage, making it more adaptable for various situations without impacting the car's range or battery longevity. This enhancement aligns with Tesla's commitment to continuous improvement via over-the-air updates, directly responding to customer feedback with practical solutions. Owners looking forward to this change appreciate the balance between maintaining Sentry Mode's security benefits and preserving battery life for everyday needs.

Tesla Adds 'Rose Gold' Cybertruck Wrap and Two Other New Colors

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla now offers Cybertruck wraps in five colors
Tesla now offers Cybertruck wraps in five colors

Remember when there was concern that the appeal of a Cybertruck would die down because there would be too many stainless steel beasts on the road? True story. If there was a concern, it appears to have been handled with wraps; not only Tesla’s wraps but more customized wraps are showing up on social media daily.

More Tesla Wraps

Firstly, Tesla has expanded its palette of Cybertruck wrap options, introducing three vibrant new colors. The chic Satin Rose Gold, the deep Satin Abyss Blue, and the sleek Slip Grey are joined in the lineup alongside the classic Satin Stealth Black and Satin Ceramic White. However, several Cybertruck owners are not waiting for Tesla wraps as more unique Cybertruck wraps are showing up on social media.

Priced at $6,000, while the newly introduced Satin Rose Gold and Satin Abyss Blue wraps are slightly pricier at $6,500. This differentiation in pricing reflects the unique appeal and quality of the new wrap colors.

Tesla outlines several key features and advantages of their Cybertruck color paint film, including:

  • A self-healing, urethane-based film that is significantly more durable and twice as thick as the average vinyl wrap, ensuring superior protection against scratches.

  • An environmentally friendly alternative to traditional vinyl wraps, covering all exterior stainless-steel surfaces of the Cybertruck, enhancing its aesthetic appeal and resilience.

Customized Wraps are Taking Off

Since Tesla wraps were introduced, the company has been criticized for the price point being far too high, while consumers can go to other wrap companies and get their own customized look. Even the unique wraps spotted on the Cybertruck before the delivery event are unavailable. But that is not stopping consumers.

It was after Investor Day in 2023 that Morgan Stanley's managing director, Adam Jonas, a well-known figure within the investment community and someone who has been dubbed a Tesla Bull. Jonas outlined several reasons why he believed the Cybertruck might not fulfill the grand visions held by Elon Musk and the Tesla team, describing it as potentially becoming a "financial side-show," a marker of cultural zeitgeist, and a niche product for enthusiasts.

Jonas argued that the Cybertruck, with its avant-garde design, might not align with this broader affordability mission. He believed that the unique aspects of Cybertruck would be lost and that "indescribable something," when several were on the street,

Yet, the landscape around the Cybertruck and Tesla's position within it has continued to evolve. Contrary to concerns, the burgeoning market for custom and aftermarket wraps for the Cybertruck tells a different story. This vibrant ecosystem of personalization options highlights the vehicle's position as a mode of transportation and a canvas for individual expression.

The concern that the uniqueness of the Cybertruck could diminish with its popularity overlooks the creative solutions that owners and enthusiasts have embraced. From bespoke wraps that offer myriad designs outside of Tesla's offerings to the DIY spirit that has taken hold among the Cybertruck community, it's clear that individuality remains a cornerstone of the Cybertruck experience.

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