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With GM and Ford embracing Tesla’s EV charging technology, here’s what it means for consumers




DETROIT (AP) – Starting next year, owners of electric vehicles made by General Motors and Ford will be able to charge their electric cars at many of Tesla’s charging stations, the largest such network in the country.

As part of their move, both Detroit-area automakers have decided to adopt Tesla’s EV charging connector, the plug that connects an electric vehicle to a charging station.

With GM and Ford joining Tesla’s charging system, the rest of the automotive industry may be forced to follow suit. If so, it will be a big win for Tesla, who will be assured of a new and guaranteed income stream in the years to come.

Currently, there are two main types of EV charging plugs: Tesla̵[ads1]7;s North American charging standard and CCS, used by almost every other car manufacturer. It is not yet clear which other automakers may join Ford and GM.

WHAT WILL CHANGE?

With 17,000 charging plugs, Tesla has the largest network in the US. The stations can charge faster than most others. They are also often more reliable and are found in safer locations closer to the best travel corridors. According to the new agreements with GM and Ford, electric cars from these companies will, starting next year, be able to charge with 12,000 Tesla Supercharger plugs. Tesla is the top seller of electric cars in the U.S., with GM No. 2 and Ford No. 3. Because those three companies control so much of the electric car market, analysts say other automakers are likely to sign up with Tesla to avoid being left at a competitive disadvantage. “Do I want my customers to not have access to Superchargers and I’m going to charge them $100,000 for a vehicle?” said Gary Silberg, global head of automotive for KPMG.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I OWN A NON-TESLA EV?

If it’s made by GM or Ford, you’ll probably need to buy an adapter so you can connect to Tesla chargers. It is unclear how much they will cost. You can also continue charging networks with CCS connectors. If your car is made by another manufacturer, you do not have access to Tesla’s chargers at this time. But there is a growing network of public stations equipped with CCS plugs — up to nearly 54,000 locations, with about 139,000 plugs, the Energy Department says. Nevertheless, only 7,400 such stations are direct current fast chargers, which can provide a significant charge in just minutes.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I BUY A NON-TESLA EV IN THE FUTURE?

By 2025, GM and Ford say they will begin installing ports in their new electric cars that will be compatible with Tesla chargers. To use a CCS charger instead, you must have an adapter or find a charging station that can accommodate both technologies. Although other automakers will likely switch to Tesla’s system as well, for at least a couple of years, you’ll likely need that adapter. “My guess is that what we’ll see is by 2027, there probably won’t be any more new EVs built for North America with CCS ports,” said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Guidehouse Insights.

WHO IS THE BIG WINNER HERE?

GM and Ford did not release much detail about the financial arrangements. But it’s clear that Tesla will enjoy an increase in revenue as more Ford and GM vehicles are charged. GM said it is spending nothing on the deal; customers will pay Tesla to charge. GM and Ford EV owners also win because they will have access to twice as many chargers as they had before.

WHO LOSES?

If other automakers join Tesla, companies developing their own charging networks, such as ChargePoint, EVgo or Electrify America, would feel the pressure. They need to make sure all their fast chargers can work with the Tesla plug – or become more competitive by, for example, adding stations in better locations and making them more reliable. “Up until this point, they basically didn’t have to compete with Tesla for owners of CCS-equipped vehicles,” Abuelsamid noted. Because Tesla’s network is open to more vehicles, Silberg said, the other companies may struggle to attract investors. But as they adapt, consumers should have more charging options. “It will light a fire under these companies,” he said.

WHAT ARE OTHER CAR MANUFACTURERS SAYING ABOUT JOINING TESLA?

It varies. Kia, Nissan and Toyota declined to comment. Hyundai said it continues to evaluate its technology but has nothing to announce. Stellantis said it is working on a response. Volkswagen says it is committed to the CCS standard. Electrify America, which was established with money from a VW emissions cheating settlement, plans to double the number of chargers by 2026. It now has 840 stations and about 4,000 plugs.



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