Tesla and Ford today made an announcement that many Tesla owners have been dreading. In a Twitter Spaces talk, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his Ford counterpart, Jim Farley, said that starting next spring all current and future Ford electric vehicles will get access to about 12,000 Tesla Supercharger stations in North America.
The move helps Tesla qualify for a share of billions of federal dollars on offer to improve the experience of charging electric vehicles in America, and will make life easier for Ford EV owners. For Tesla customers, however, it could mean longer wait times at charging stations—even as many have already complained about congestion at them.
“That’s the one thing that concerns me—whether it might add to congestion,” John Sergeant, a Tesla owner in Seattle, told the Wall Street Journal in February. He added that even without non-Teslas taking up coveted spaces, “they really need to put more superchargers in.”
Not that Musk hasn’t indicated the day would come. He signaled a few years ago that his carmaker would eventually open its network to others. Then in February, the White House announced a “set of actions aimed at creating a convenient, reliable and Made-in-America electric vehicle (EV) charging network so that the great American road trip can be electrified,” as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $7.5 billion investment in EV charging.
The White House said that Tesla would for the first time “open a portion of its U.S. Supercharger and Destination Charger network to non-Tesla EVs, making at least 7,500 chargers available for all EVs by the end of 2024.”
Tesla customers waiting for Fords to charge
Musk today 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.”
This will no doubt lead to Tesla owners having to wait, at times, for Ford customers to charge their vehicles before them—something they’re not accustomed to.
Ford’s current vehicles will need an adaptor at Tesla stations, but its second-generation ones in 2025 will use Tesla’s North American charging standard connector.
Last November, Tesla said it would share its EV connector design with other carmakers, writing on its blog: “We invite charging network operators and vehicle manufacturers to put the Tesla charging connector and charge port, now called the North American Charging Standard (NACS), on their equipment and vehicles.”
Ford’s Farley, talking to Musk today, spoke highly of Tesla’s charging stations: “This is a really big deal for our customers…we love the locations, we love the reliability…It’s pretty amazing what you and your team have done for the customers.”
Tesla customers now using those stations, understandably, have less to be excited about.