Ford and Tesla Partner to Expand Access to Supercharger Network for Ford EV Owners
In a surprising move, Ford and Tesla announced a partnership on Thursday that will allow Ford electric vehicle (EV) owners to access Tesla's Supercharger network in the US and Canada, starting early next year. This is the first direct partnership of its kind between two competing EV manufacturers, and it is expected to accelerate the adoption of Tesla's preferred charging setup. The deal means that Ford owners will initially need to use a Tesla-developed adapter to charge their vehicles, but Ford's next generation of EVs, expected by mid-decade, will use Tesla's charging plug, enabling owners to charge at Tesla Superchargers without an adapter.
Ford CEO Jim Farley and Tesla CEO Elon Musk made the announcement during a live Twitter Spaces discussion. Musk stated that the Tesla Supercharger network should not resemble a confined environment. Under the partnership, Ford will also switch from the existing Combined Charging System (CCS) port to Tesla's North American Charging Standard (NACS) charge port starting with the 2025 model year. This means that Ford vehicles will come equipped with a Tesla-compatible charging plug, removing the need for an adapter.
The move is a break from the rest of the industry, which has relied on deals with smaller and less reliable charging networks. Ford's decision to partner with Tesla will give its customers access to the largest network of fast-chargers in the US and Canada with 12,000+ Tesla Superchargers plus 10,000+ fast-chargers already in the BlueOval Charge Network. Farley said, “Widespread access to fast-charging is absolutely vital to our growth as an EV brand, and this breakthrough agreement comes as we are ramping up production of our popular Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning and preparing to launch a series of next-generation EVs starting in 2025.”
Tesla, in return, will get significant revenue out of the deal, perhaps offsetting the many billions of dollars it has spent setting up its charging network over the past 11 years. Tesla will also be able to use the partnership to expand its network of Superchargers and lower-speed Destination Chargers significantly by December 2024.
The partnership may also have a broader impact on the industry. If other automakers or charging companies decide to pivot to NACS, it may leave the US charging landscape with a clear winner, after years of conversations about charger reliability that recently have warranted attention from the federal government. Tesla's NACS standard was delivered in the Model S starting in 2012 and predates CCS, which didn’t arrive in any production EV until late 2013, in GM's Chevy Spark EV. The CHAdeMO standard for fast-charging arrived three years before the Model S, but hardware wasn't installed in the US until after Tesla had already devised its own standard.
Overall, the partnership between Ford and Tesla is a significant step towards greater EV adoption and charging infrastructure standardization.
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