May 25, 2023 - Economy

Tesla opens Superchargers to Ford EVs in rare collaboration

A Tesla car charges at a Supercharger location in Hawthorne, Calif. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Ford electric vehicle owners will get access to Tesla Superchargers in the U.S. and Canada in a new partnership that appears likely to accelerate adoption of Tesla's preferred charging setup.

Why it matters: Charging access is widely seen as crucial to speeding EV adoption — and Tesla has the largest network of chargers, although until recently it has been open only to Tesla owners.

  • Tesla's plug is proprietary; other EVs use a different design.
  • Ford said it favors Tesla's technology and is encouraging other automakers and charging equipment suppliers to adopt it as the new industry standard.

Driving the news: Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Ford CEO Jim Farley made the announcement Thursday in a live Twitter Spaces discussion.

  • "We think this is a huge move for our industry and for all electric [vehicle] customers," Farley said.

Details: Ford EV owners — including owners of the Mustang Mach-E crossover and the F-150 Lightning pickup — will get access to more than 12,000 Tesla Superchargers in the U.S. and Canada.

  • Current owners will have to pay for an adapter that Musk said would cost "in the hundreds of dollars range."
  • Starting in 2025, Ford said it will offer EVs with North American Charging Standard (NACS) connectors that work with Tesla Superchargers, "eliminating the need for an adapter."
  • Ford said it's also taken steps to allow vehicle owners to pay for Tesla charging through the FordPass and Ford Pro Intelligence apps.
  • Ford owners will still have access to the BlueOval Charge Network, which has more than 84,000 chargers.

Yes, but: Ford's next-generation EVs — those equipped with the Tesla-style connectors — will then need an adapter to use non-Tesla chargers, a spokesman confirmed.

The big picture: The auto industry is in the midst of a historic shift to electrification, and the standards are still being decided.

  • The battle over charging connectors resembles the VHS vs. Betamax contest for video technology a generation ago.

Context: The White House announced in February that Tesla had agreed to make part of its extensive charging network available to drivers of other brands, Axios' Ben Geman reported.

  • Tesla said it would make at least 7,500 chargers nationwide available by the end of next year, per a White House summary.

Worth noting: The vibe on the Twitter Spaces talk was positively chummy as both Musk and Farley made each other laugh and acknowledged each other's accomplishments.

  • "Looking forward to doing perhaps more in the future," Musk said as the call ended.
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