Ford and Tesla came out with a big announcement today. Starting in 2025, Ford will bring electric vehicles to market that will include Tesla’s Supercharging port — also now called the North American Charging Standard (NACS). That means Ford electric vehicles will have the best charging access in the United States, unless something changes, as they will also have charging ports for CCS chargers.
Before then, starting in early 2024, Ford will offer adapters to its electric vehicle owners so that they can use Tesla Superchargers. With the adapter, Ford EVs will gain the ability to charge at more than 12,000 Tesla Superchargers across the USA and Canada. That will combined with the 10,000+ EV fast chargers in the BlueOval Charge Network (Electrify America stations, EVgo stations, ChargePoint stations, etc.). To be specific, Ford writes, “Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning and E-Transit customers will be able to access the Superchargers via an adapter and software integration along with activation and payment via FordPass or Ford Pro Intelligence.”
There are plenty of implications here, and I’m sure other writers will jump into them in coming days. However, the biggest factor is right there in the headline: the electric cars with the best EV fast charging in North America will be Ford electric vehicles (or Tesla EVs with CCS charging adapters, but I don’t think many Tesla owners have gotten that adapter or will get it since Superchargers are adequate enough and the adapter costs $175 — which is at least down from the $250 it cost when it came out). One of the biggest advantages of buying a Tesla vehicle instead of another EV for the past several years has been the fact that Tesla’s Supercharger network is far superior to the competition — more reliable, more abundant, less likely to be have a line of EVs waiting to charge, etc. Whereas you often find just a handful of charging ports at other EV fast charging networks, Tesla routinely has 10, 12, 20, or some other fairly large number. All of a sudden, Ford electric vehicles are going to truly be competitive!
Additionally, Marin Gjaja, Chief Customer Officer in the Ford Model e program, makes a point that anyone who has used a Tesla Supercharger and a CCS or CHAdeMO station notice right away: “The Tesla Supercharger network has excellent reliability and the NACS plug is smaller and lighter. Overall, this provides a superior experience for customers.” Indeed, the Tesla Supercharging connector plus cable is much lighter and easier to handle than a non-Tesla fast charging connector and cable.
Additionally, here’s a conversation on Twitter between Jim Farley and Elon Musk about the news:
Going live here with @ElonMusk at 5:30 EST. https://t.co/EbhWcgI9Gp
— Jim Farley (@jimfarley98) May 25, 2023
This is a brave move by Ford and CEO Jim Farley. We pushed heavily for Nissan to go this route years ago, or any other automakers, but automaker pride seemed to always be a blockade. Plus, by doing this, Ford is guaranteeing more revenue and profits for Tesla (via its charging arm). Nonetheless, if you want to genuinely compete and offer your EV buyers the best charging experience out there, this is the only option. Kudos to Jim Farley for seeing that, accepting it, and doing what’s best for Ford buyers. As we argued before, this should dramatically increase demand for those EVs. Let’s just hope Ford is also now prepared to boost EV production at a fast clip. It’s far past time for underestimating demand. Want to compete with the #1 best selling car in the world, the Tesla Model Y, and aim for a million model sales a year? Want to at least target 250,000 or 500,000 sales a year? Be brave, believe in your product, and increase production accordingly. With this Supercharger access, Ford has unlocked the key to massive consumer demand and growth.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E and Ford F-150 Lightning could both achieve probably an order of magnitude more sales than they are seeing now. As far as the electric vehicle models coming out in 2025, I’m getting goosebumps. These have got to be good!
As far as Tesla’s perspective, here’s commentary from Rebecca Tinucci, Tesla’s Senior Director of Charging Infrastructure: “We’ve spent the last 10 years building an industry-leading Charging Network that enables freedom to travel and provides charging confidence for our Tesla owners. We’re excited to deliver on our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy by welcoming Ford owners, and other electric vehicles who adopt NACS, to our thousands of Superchargers across North America.”
And that raises the next big question: which automaker will be next to partner with Tesla like this? Surely, with Ford taking the lead, others can’t sit back and ignore the opportunity. Surely, other automakers will concede and develop electric cars with NACS (Tesla Supercharging) ports, or at the very least offer their EV buyers adapters for such ports. “Tesla has led the industry in creating a large, reliable and efficient charging system and we are pleased to be able to join forces in a way that benefits customers and overall EV adoption,” Gjaja rightly states. Everyone knows it. Who’s ready to admit it and provide their customers to this industry-leading charging experience?
What are your thoughts on this Tesla–Ford partnership and potential future partnerships between Tesla and other automakers?
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