GM and Tesla collaborate on charging network for electric cars, after Ford

TESLA logo on a charging station on May 26, 2023.

Harry Langer | Defodi Pictures | Getty Images

DETROIT — General Motors will follow rival Ford Motor in the city in partnering with Tesla to use the electric car̵[ads1]7;s North American charging network and technologies.

Under the deal, GM vehicles will be able to access 12,000 of Tesla’s fast chargers using an adapter and through the Detroit automaker’s EV charging app, starting next year.

GM, like Ford, will also begin installing a charging port used by Tesla, known as NACS, or North American Charging Standard, instead of the current industry standard CCS in its electric vehicles starting in 2025.

The partnerships with now two leading car manufacturers from Detroit are a big win for Tesla and the charging technology. It is expected to put pressure on other automakers – as well as the US government, which is investing billions in building out an EV charging network – to adopt Tesla’s technology.

The deal was announced by GM CEO Mary Barra and Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a live audio discussion Thursday on Twitter Spaces. GM is ramping up production of its all-electric vehicles in pursuit of Tesla-level sales volume in the segment.

It also marks a strong reversal in strategy for GM. Weeks ago, when Ford announced its own partnership with Tesla, GM worked with the engineering organization SAE International to develop and refine an open coupling standard for CCS.

“This collaboration is a key part of our strategy and an important next step in rapidly expanding access to fast chargers for our customers,” Barra said in a statement. “Not only will it help make the transition to electric vehicles more seamless for our customers, but it could help move the industry toward a single North American charging standard.”

To heighten the curiosity of rivals collaborating: Twitter Spaces was Barra’s first tweet since Oct. 27, since she stopped using the social media platform when Musk became owner. GM also stopped advertising on the platform at that time.

The GM-Tesla deal, like Ford’s, is likely to be beneficial to both companies. It is expected to more than double access to fast chargers for GM and Ford customers and increase the use of Tesla’s network.

Tesla says it has approximately 45,000 Supercharger contacts worldwide at 4,947 Supercharger stations. The company does not state how many are in the US. The US Department of Energy reports that the country only has about 5,300 CCS fast chargers.

Tesla previously discussed opening its private network to other electric cars. White House officials announced in February that Tesla committed to opening 7,500 of its charging stations to non-Tesla electric car drivers by the end of 2024.

Public charging of electric vehicles is a major concern for potential buyers, and no car manufacturer other than Tesla has succeeded in building out its own network. Instead, these automakers have announced partnerships with third-party companies that have often proven unreliable and frustrating for owners.

Most American drivers log vehicle miles from home to nearby locations. But electric car buyers who want to take longer road trips, or who don’t have access to a garage with a charger, often worry about access to reliable public charging.

– CNBC Lora Kolodny and John Rosevear contributed to this report.

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