Ford EVs to get access to Tesla charging network, CEOs say
Two auto industry heavyweights and competitors are teaming up to expand access to electric-vehicle charging in North America.
Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Farley and Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk on Thursday announced that, starting next year, Ford's EVs will gain access to Tesla's proprietary Supercharger network. They shared the news during a live event on Twitter Spaces; Musk also owns Twitter.
With Ford customers gaining access to more than 12,000 Superchargers, the agreement will more than double the number of EV fast chargers to which they currently have access.
"We're ramping production and we think this a huge move for our industry and for our all-electric customers," Farley said. "Widespread access to fast-charging is absolutely vital to our growth as an EV brand."
"We don't want the Tesla Supercharger network to be like a walled garden," Musk said. "We want it to be something that is supportive of electrification and sustainable transport in general. ... It is our intent to do everything possible to support Ford and have Ford be on an equal footing at Tesla Superchargers."
Here's how the arrangement will work for customers: Starting next year, a Tesla-developed adapter will provide drivers of Ford EVs fitted with a Combined Charging System (CCS) port access to Tesla's V3 Superchargers, according to a news release. Starting in 2025, when it's set to launch its second generation of electric vehicles, Ford will equip its EVs with the NACS charge port that Tesla vehicles have, eliminating the need for an adapter.
Currently, Ford's charging network has some 84,000 chargers, including more than 10,000 public fast chargers, according to the company. Ford also is in the midst of an initiative under which its dealers are adding about 1,800 public fast chargers at their stores.
In a statement, Marin Gjaja, chief customer officer for Ford's EV business unit, said that Tesla's charging network "has excellent reliability and the NACS plug is smaller and lighter. Overall, this provides a superior experience for customers.”
Farley hinted at the move during an event earlier Thursday with Morgan Stanley, where he talked about there being "room for some collaboration between the auto companies — which is totally unnatural for us."
"Right now we have two different plugs," he said, referring to the "North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector that Tesla uses versus another standard, CCS, used by other manufacturers.
"They're completely different," Farley said. "It seems totally ridiculous that we have an infrastructure problem and we can't even agree on what plug to use."
During the Twitter Spaces event, Musk said he believes that "consumers will be all the better for it" if NACS becomes the standard.
"This was a no brainer move for Farley and (Ford) needed to partner with Tesla to expand its charging ecosystem," Dan Ives, an equity analyst at Wedbush Securities who follows both companies, said via email. "A strategic step forward for Ford to go after its EV vision as Tesla holds most of the cards with its supercharger network. Many thought this day would never happen."
Ford's stock was trading up about 1% after hours to $11.49 per share. Tesla's stock was trading up less than 1% to $184.83 per share.