Ford, Tesla Charging Deal Takes EV Industry by Surprise

Ford Motor and Tesla CEOs Jim Farley and Elon Musk made an announcement via a real-time audio conversation on Twitter Spaces on Thursday that the two automakers will collaborate on efforts relating to EV charging for both future as well as present models. In line with the agreement, Ford electric vehicles will be able to utilize an adaptor to access more than 12,000 superchargers owned by Tesla located throughout Canada and the United States beginning early 2024.

Ford’s upcoming electric vehicles, which are anticipated to be released in 2025, will come with a Tesla plug for charging. This plug will allow Ford vehicle owners to charge their vehicles at Tesla-owned superchargers without the need for an adaptor. This will make Ford the first carmaker to officially tap into Tesla’s network.

This comes at a time when Ford is working to increase the output of its all-electric cars in an effort to reach or eventually surpass the market sales for Tesla. Although Tesla continues to dominate the electric vehicle industry by a wide margin, Ford ranked second in all-electric car sales in the United States in 2022, with 61,575 EVs having been sold.

Farley identified the convenience and dependability of the Tesla network of superchargers as two important benefits of utilizing the service. Ford did affirm that its own network of more than 10,000 fast chargers — called BlueOval Charge — will remain accessible, offering Ford vehicle owners more options and a significant competitive advantage over the Tesla network.

Tom Moloughney believes that although the deal between Ford and Tesla may initially disrupt the auto sector, it will ultimately benefit consumers over time. Mike Austin, while speaking to Yahoo, said that Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) is the top standard in the United States for rapid charge ports for on-road vehicles. Austin believes that the partnership is a smart move for Ford, or at the very least, it is not a bad move, given that Tesla alongside other carmakers will likely require an adapter in some capacity. So, moving to NACS is necessary in order to use superchargers, and it is certainly worthwhile.

When interviewed by Yahoo Finance, Secretary Pete Buttigieg voiced his support for the agreement between Tesla and Ford, calling it beneficial for customers. According to him, the accessibility of adapters for compatibility will be important regardless of the type of standard plug used for chargers, whether NACS or CCS.

General Motors feels that open infrastructure for charging and open standards are the best course of action for the sector to accept electric vehicles, according to a statement given to Yahoo Finance. Because of this, GM has collaborated with a number of organizations, along with SAE, to create and keep improving the CCS standard open connector, which it feels is the only current, true global rapid charging approach.

One big question remains: Will other companies follow Ford’s action and use the NACS standard as the primary system and plug moving forward? This is a question that startups such Lordstown Motors Corp. (NASDAQ: RIDE) will have to answer because it could have major implications for the prospects of their EV models as the market matures.

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