Ford CEO Jim Farley and Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that in early 2024 more than 12,000 Tesla Superchargers will be operational with Ford vehicles. Farley also announced that next-generation Ford vehicles would come equipped with the North American Charging Standard (NACS) port, Tesla’s standardized version of its proprietary charging system.
“We don’t want Tesla superchargers to be a walled garden,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on the Twitter Space call. According to Musk, Tesla wants Ford and other automakers to be on an equal footing when it comes to access to dependable EV charging.
“We don’t want Tesla superchargers to be a walled garden”
According to Ford, Tesla will develop an adapter that will be provided to customers who buy any of Ford’s EVs, including the F-150 Lightning truck, Mustang Mach-E, and E-Transit delivery van. Like the vast majority of EVs in North America, Ford’s EVs are compatible with EV chargers with CCS (Combined Charging System) plugs.
The adapter will allow Ford EVs to connect with Tesla’s Superchargers, including the Version 3 chargers that have just started to roll out. And Ford’s next-generation EV platform, which will land in 2025, will be compatible with Tesla’s North American Charging Standard port. Tesla announced that it would open up its charging standard to other automakers last year — and now Ford is one of the first companies to take it up.
Ford will also continue to support its “BlueOval” charging network, which will grow another 1,800 DC fast charging stations by early 2024.
The Twitter Space stage was stable this time around, following the disaster that was Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential announcement speech yesterday. According to the numbers shown in the Space, nearly 75,000 tuned in, compared to the 600,000 or so that were attempting to get in on the DeSantis stream.
Earlier this year, Tesla’s Supercharger network, once exclusive to customers of Elon Musk and only Elon Musk, started opening up to non-Tesla EVs. The company, which has been allowing other companies’ EVs to use its chargers in Europe for months, is now doing the same in the US — as per the instructions laid out in the Biden administration’s $7.5 billion plan to expand EV charging options to more Americans.
Tesla Superchargers in the US use a proprietary connector — this was Tesla’s “competitive moat,” the thing that offered protection from other automakers. In order to allow non-Tesla vehicles to access the chargers, the company installed a device called the “Magic Dock,” in which a CCS adapter is applied to the connector. CCS is the agreed-upon standard that most EV makers in North America have adopted for DC fast charging.
The conversation between the two automaker CEOs comes as EV competition continues to rise. Tesla has enjoyed its dominance at the top of the growing electric vehicle industry, but other manufacturers are finally bringing on more variety and alternatives to Tesla’s top-selling Model Y. Tesla has dropped prices multiple times this year to spur sales, bringing the Model 3 sedan under $40,000.
Price cuts aren’t only happening at Tesla. Ford had dropped prices as well, and other manufacturers are inching closer to an industry-wide EV price war.
Ford has some of the best-selling EVs (number two, to be exact), but it’s been hamstrung by manufacturing problems that included faulty batteries that could catch fire (that issue was addressed, but it stalled Lightning production for a while). Mustang Mach-E production was also stalled for weeks as the company improved processes at the plant.
Ford restructured the company a year ago to operate separate businesses for its highly profitable gas vehicles, now called Ford Blue, and its electric efforts under Ford Model E — which, by the way, was the originally intended name for Tesla’s Model 3 (they even had to change the Model 3 logo to not infringe on Ford’s trademark).
Farley has praised Musk before, but he’s also dished out some punches. One time last year, Farley touted how the Ford F-150 Lightning was already being manufactured and put on the road while Tesla’s Cybertruck wasn’t anywhere in sight (and it still isn’t). “Take that, Elon Musk,” Farley said at the time.
Both Tesla and Ford have also joined the National Charging Experience Consortium, a collaborative effort that brings together National Laboratories, EV equipment OEMs, and automakers to improve charging infrastructure reliability.