Ford and Tesla Announce Historic Partnership for EV Charging Access
In a historic move for two automotive rivals, Ford and Tesla have announced a partnership that will enable Ford electric vehicle (EV) owners to access Tesla’s Supercharger network. The move will give Ford EVs access to over 12,000 Tesla Superchargers across the United States and Canada, as well as the 10,000 fast-chargers already integrated into Ford’s BlueOval Charge Network. The partnership will begin in early 2024, and owners of the Ford F-150 Lightning, Mach-E, or E-Transit will be able to access Tesla’s V3 Superchargers, albeit with an adapter and payment via the FordPass app. However, starting in 2025, Ford will offer next-generation EVs with the North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector built-in, eliminating the need for an adapter to access Tesla Superchargers.
The announcement came as a surprise to many, as the two companies have often been at odds over the years, with Tesla CEO Elon Musk once referring to Ford as a “morgue” for its lack of innovation. However, the partnership is a significant step forward in promoting widespread access to fast-charging, which Ford CEO Jim Farley described as, “absolutely vital to our growth as an EV brand.”
The move will also help Tesla qualify for a share of billions of federal dollars on offer to improve the experience of charging EVs in America, as the White House announced in February that Tesla would open part of its U.S. charging network to non-Tesla EVs by the end of 2024.
The partnership also signals a shift in the charging standard landscape, as Ford will offer EVs with the NACS connector built-in, a standard that predates CCS, which didn’t arrive in any production EV until late 2013. If more automakers or charging companies decide to pivot to NACS, it may leave the U.S. charging landscape with a clear winner, after years of conversations about charger reliability that recently have warranted attention from the federal government.
Overall, the partnership is seen as a positive move for both companies and the EV industry as a whole. Marin Gjaja, chief customer officer of Ford Model e, said, “The Tesla Supercharger network has excellent reliability and the NACS plug is smaller and lighter. Overall, this provides a superior experience for customers.” Meanwhile, Musk reiterated that he didn’t want Tesla charging stations to be a “walled garden,” adding, “It is our intent to do everything possible to support Ford and have Ford be on an equal footing at Tesla Superchargers.
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