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Ford Partnership Shifts Charging Landscape
The unexpected move by Tesla to allow Ford electric vehicles access to its Supercharger stations has taken many by surprise, despite Tesla’s previous discussions about expanding its charging network. This development puts Ford owners in the position of being able to utilize the largest fast-charging network in the United States. As a result, other automakers such as General Motors may face challenging obstacles in the future.
According to a report from CNBC, it is expected that Ford electric vehicle (EV) owners will be granted access to Tesla’s extensive Supercharger network, which comprises over 12,000 charging stalls in the US and Canada, starting in early 2024. In addition, Ford’s upcoming generation of EVs will incorporate the Tesla-developed North American Charging Standard plug instead of the CCS plug.
The revelation was made by Ford CEO Jim Farley during a Twitter Spaces call held last week with Tesla CEO Elon Musk. In light of this announcement, Farley believes that General Motors (GM) now faces a challenging decision.
Farley stated in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” “I think GM and others are going to have a big choice to make. The CCS is a great standard, but it was pretty much done by kind of a committee, and I think GM and others are going to have a big choice to make. Do they want to have fast charging for customers? Or do they want to stick to their standard and have less charging?”
Although GM did not specifically respond to Farley’s comments, the company declared on Friday that it believes “open charging networks and standards are the best way forward to enable EV adoption across the industry.” GM further mentioned that it is collaborating with SAE International and other companies to develop another open connector standard for CCS. These efforts are deemed crucial for the expansion of an open network of fast charging throughout North America.
According to RBC Capital analyst Tom Narayan, the recent development of Ford gaining access to Tesla’s Supercharger network could have a negative impact on General Motors (GM) and other companies in the short term. This is because access to charging stations is a significant factor influencing consumer interest in electric vehicles (EVs).
Narayan stated in a note to investors, “The news is obviously a positive for Ford shares today (and potentially a near-term negative for GM/STLA), but ultimately, we think this should be viewed as Tesla playing the long game.”
The recent news indicates that Tesla is gaining an advantage in the competition for a charging standard, as both Ford and the EV solar automaker Aptera have embraced the Tesla-developed North American Charging Standard (NACS). This development is beneficial for Ford owners and could potentially influence other automakers to follow suit, as noted by Wolfe Research analyst Rod Lache.
Lache mentioned in a note to investors, “For Ford, access to Tesla’s network helps solve a major pain-point for their EV customers, who otherwise have to use third-party charging providers. Meanwhile, for Tesla, adding Ford customers will help boost network utilization, a key driver of profitability.”
According to Morningstar analyst David Whiston, the partnership between Tesla and Ford “puts some pressure on other legacy automakers,” but he also added that if you are a company like GM, there is no immediate need to panic.
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