Tesla and Ford announced a partnership to onboard the latter’s electric vehicles on the former’s Supercharger network. Ford will add the Tesla plug, now known as the North American Charging Standard (NACS), to its electric vehicles.
When Tesla announced last year that it opened up its proprietary charging connector to try to make it the industry standard in North America, we thought it might be too little too late, despite agreeing that Tesla’s plug was a much superior design than the current CCS standard.
But it looks like we were wrong, as Tesla just got a major partner on board: Ford.
Today, Ford announced that it partnered with Tesla for Ford EV owners to have better access to the Supercharger network.
Tesla was already opening up the network to non-Tesla electric vehicles through an adapter that is being deployed at Superchargers. It is limiting the opening of the network to stations being deployed with this adapter called “Magic Dock“.
In today’s announcement, Ford said that its EV owners will have access to the full Tesla Supercharger network through an adapter that will be made available directly to the Ford EV owners:
Starting early next year, Ford EV customers will have access to more than 12,000 Tesla Superchargers across the U.S. and Canada, in addition to the over 10,000 DC fast-chargers that are already part of the BlueOval Charge Network. This will give Ford EV customers unprecedented access to fast-charging.
But the bigger news is that Ford plans to directly integrate Tesla’s connector, now known as NACS, in its future electric vehicles:
In 2025, Ford will offer next-generation electric vehicles with the North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector built-in, eliminating the need for an adapter to access Tesla Superchargers
This starts giving Tesla credibility in making its connector the standard in North America and might force the hand of other automakers.
Ford president and CEO Jim Farley commented:
“This is great news for our customers who will have unprecedented access to the largest network of fast-chargers in the U.S. and Canada with 12,000+ Tesla Superchargers plus 10,000+ fast-chargers already in the BlueOval Charge Network. Widespread access to fast-charging is absolutely vital to our growth as an EV brand, and this breakthrough agreement comes as we are ramping up production of our popular Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning, and preparing to launch a series of next-generation EVs starting in 2025.”
Ford noted that the reliability of Tesla’s Supercharger network is ahead of the competition as one of the main reasons to work with Tesla to facilitate the use of the network for its EV owners.
This is surprising but definitely the right move for Ford.
It reminds me of this article I wrote all the way back in 2019 when Ford copied Tesla’s design for a charging station, and I argued that it should copy its whole charging strategy instead:
Tesla always had a major advantage over other automakers by not relying on third-party charging networks.
This is a win-win for Ford and Tesla. Ford’s electric vehicles are now much more attractive because they will be easier to use on the Supercharger network. And for Tesla, this will turn its Supercharger network into a bigger business.
Now the big question is: will others follow Ford and integrate the NACS connector?