Ford EV Drivers to Gain Access to 12,000 Tesla Superchargers
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Ford EV Drivers to Gain Access to 12,000 Tesla Superchargers

Jul 11, 2023

The new partnership expands the number of DC fast chargers available to Ford owners and helps address infrastructure concerns for potential EV buyers

Ford has announced an agreement with Tesla that will allow Ford electric vehicle owners to use 12,000 of Tesla’s more than 45,000 DC fast chargers across the U.S. and Canada. Ford says the deal—which goes into effect in spring 2024—will double the number of DC fast chargers available to its EV owners in North America.

Unlike other auto manufacturers, Tesla gained an early market advantage by setting up its own charging network. Opening the network to other EVs is likely to ease some concerns about the availability of chargers, a chief impediment to EV adoption. (Learn more about EVs in Electric Cars 101.)

This business partnership will expand access to Tesla chargers well beyond the 7,500 U.S. Superchargers and Level 2 Destination Chargers the company is opening up to non-Tesla owners by the end of 2024, in an agreement announced by the White House in February. Spread across the country, these chargers will include at least 3,500 250-kilowatt Superchargers along highway corridors. (Note that Ford’s EVs accept a maximum of 150 kW.) All EV drivers will be able to access the chargers through Tesla’s app or website.

The Ford-Tesla collaboration comes only a few months after President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan infrastructure bill into law that set aside $7.5 billion for public EV charging. The Biden administration’s plan calls for a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers, as well as a push for EVs to make up half of U.S. car sales by the end of the decade.

“Most EV owners routinely charge at home, only occasionally using DC fast chargers when they take a longer trip,” says Jake Fisher, senior director of CR’s Auto Test Center. “But nobody wants to wonder if they can make it back home when they do need to drive farther.”

That’s why CR considers access to public charging when choosing our annual Top Picks. This year, CR chose the Tesla Model 3 as the Top Pick for EVs over $45,000, edging out other higher-scoring models, like the Kia EV6, because of Tesla’s robust and convenient Supercharger fast-charging network.

“We will likewise factor access to fast charging into our EV Top Pick selections for 2024,” Fisher says.

While there are still a few challenges for non-Tesla EV drivers who want to use a Tesla charger, including needing an adaptor, Quinta Warren, CR’s associate director of sustainability policy, says the development is a positive one. “It’s a small step, but definitely a step in the right direction,” Warren says.

Tesla’s U.S. Superchargers use a proprietary charging plug called the North American Charging Standard (NACS) on its equipment and vehicles. To enable non-Tesla EVs to use its chargers, the company has developed an adapter called the Magic Dock, which incorporates the Combined Charging System charging standard used by most other automakers. A few EVs, including the Nissan Leaf, use a different plug standard.

Tesla opened up the patent for its NACS connector in 2022 in an effort to make it the industry standard. Ford followed up this week by signaling its intent to build new EVs with built-in NACS capability by 2025.

Pricing details of the agreement have not yet been announced. “It’s unclear what the costs will be for Ford owners, but DC fast chargers are often fairly expensive to use,” Fisher says. “But when it comes to the overall ownership costs of an EV, the small percentage of the charges that are done on the road are unlikely to add up significantly.”

Warren says she sees the increased availability of chargers as a benefit, even if non-Tesla owners will pay a premium to use them. “From a consumer’s standpoint, an expensive charger is better than no charger,” she says. “I’m willing to pay more to get where I need to go, rather than be stranded.”

Photo: Ford Photo: Ford

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Ford EV Drivers to Gain Access to 12,000 Tesla SuperchargersFord EV Drivers to Gain Access to 12,000 Tesla Superchargers