The majority of the automotive industry was taken aback by the unexpected revelation that Ford would provide existing and future owners of its electric vehicles access to more than 12,000 stations in Tesla’s Supercharger network. The announcement took place late on Thursday evening. Tesla is notoriously known for going its own way, and the erratic and more political behaviour of its CEO has certainly been in the news, to say the least. Tesla has notoriously gone its own way.


Putting all of that to the side, the CEOs of the two companies made a joint announcement that future Ford electric vehicles will integrate the Tesla connector beginning in 2025, and owners of current Ford electric vehicles will have access to Superchargers beginning in the spring of 2024 via a CCS-to-Tesla adapter. (Tesla refers to the design of its plug and connector as the North American Charging Standard, or NACS; however, many engineers have objected to this designation because Tesla has not followed the process that is normally used to produce a technical standard.)

Brilliant Strategy on the Part of Ford

For a number of different reasons, in my opinion, the transaction represents a stroke of brilliance on the part of Ford. To begin, it will provide Ford with a significant marketing advantage over any other electric vehicle manufacturer that is not Tesla. Second, it places an intense and public demand on current fast-charging networks like Electrify America and EVgo, as well as other similar networks, to significantly improve their performance in terms of reliability. Lastly, it is still not clear if Ford would just include the Tesla connector alongside the existing CCS/J-1722 connector in its future electric vehicles or whether it will completely replace the present connector with the Tesla connector.

Since the beginning, Ford has been aware that public fast-charging is a chaotic situation. Its very first Mustang Mach-E, which debuted in late 2020, had the connect and Charge protocol, which enabled a user to simply connect in their device and have the back-end processing do all of the necessary validation and payment. In October 2021, it organised a fleet of “Charge Angels” who drove Ford EVs to various public charging stations to verify whether or not they could actually charge. Unfortunately, the results showed that this was not always the case, which was sufficient evidence to demonstrate the requirement.

Ford has also played hardball with charging networks, threatening to remove sites or parts of entire networks from its aggregated BlueOval Charge Network of charging sites if they were not fixed as soon as possible. This was done in an effort to get charging networks to play ball with Ford. Now, with just this one step, it has doubled the number of fast-charging locations that are available to drivers of Ford electric vehicles, and it has provided them with access to what is indisputably the most reliable EV fast-charging network in North America.

In exchange, Tesla will receive significant revenue from the agreement, which might potentially compensate for the many billions of dollars it has spent over the past 11 years building it up (costs that have never been written out on its financial sheets). This revenue will enable the company achieve its goal of considerably expanding its network of Superchargers (and other, slower-speed Destination Chargers) by the end of the year 2024. It is possible that it can also appeal to the fact that Ford has signed up as evidence that their connector ought to be a “standard.”

The Competitive Advantage in Marketing

You won’t quite understand the significance of having public fast-charging stations that are widespread, reliable, and tightly integrated until you actually get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle (EV). It did, and because its Model S was the only electric vehicle (EV) in 2012 with a range of more than 200 miles, Tesla understood it had to have a reliable network. As a result, the company constructed one, tightly integrating the charging, the navigation, and the billing systems. In this regard, it is comparable to Apple in that it exerts control over the entire ecosystem.

Now, in addition to Tesla, Ford will be the only automaker in the world that can say to prospective consumers, “You can charge your electric vehicle at any charging site in the United States.” Owners of existing Ford EV cars will be required to purchase an adapter designed by Tesla. I have faith that the two manufacturers have agreed to produce adequate quantities of this adapter. The next generation of electric vehicles produced by Ford will come equipped with a Tesla port, allowing their owners to just pull up to a Supercharger and plug in their vehicles.

This is a significant improvement over Tesla’s present business model, which permits only a select number of Supercharger cables to charge CCS-capable vehicles by means of the company’s Magic Dock automated connector. When a non-Tesla CCS motorist uses the Tesla app to reserve a Magic Dock–equipped pedestal at one of the few Supercharger sites that has one, that connector is automatically enabled. There are very few Supercharger locations that have one.

The pressure is on to Electrify America at This Point

The unpredictability of public charging locations that aren’t operated by Tesla has been the subject of a lot of writing. Reliability and comfort at least on par with that of a petrol station may not sound like an overly demanding standard, but the reality is that it just isn’t there. One of the individuals who was interviewed for this article insisted on maintaining their anonymity, as did the other five individuals who were questioned, in order to protect the confidentially of the automotive business. According to him, the partnership between Ford and Tesla constitutes “a major shot across the bow” for Electrify America and the other networks.

At this time, none of the existing fast-charging networks are profitable. They are currently in the land-grab phase, during which they are attempting to construct as many stations as quickly as possible in order to secure desirable locations. In the case of Electrify America, this is also being done in order to comply with a 10-year consent agreement with the EPA that was issued as a result of VW Group’s responsibility for the Dieselgate incident.

That implies that any lost revenue from a customer who drove an electric vehicle to a charger only to discover that it was damaged is of no consequence. In addition, there are not many incentives to ensure that stations remain in operational condition. Therefore, the partnership between Ford and Tesla instantly puts a significant amount of pressure on smaller networks that allow public charging, such as Electrify America, EVgo, and ChargePoint. To put it another way, Ford is in a position to say, “If you don’t bring your network up to the standards of Tesla, we can always direct our customers to Tesla—which we know works properly.” And you are aware of that as well, aren’t you?

Will Ford Finally Give Up on CCS?

Although Ford CEO Jim Farley referred to the transaction as a “breakthrough agreement” that would be “great for customers,” the phrasing in the official release focused on “access” to Tesla charging stations. It did not explicitly state that Ford will discontinue using the current CCS connector in any of its next vehicles. Nor was that made clear in a conversation that took place on Twitter between the CEOs of the two companies. When questioned about this particular issue, numerous Ford representatives responded with variations of the phrase “More details to come, stay tuned.”

Will Ford completely do away with the CCS system?

The elimination of the combination J-1772 and CCS connector by Ford is by no means a foregone conclusion. Additionally, due to the Tesla connector’s diminutive size, the installation of one will require less space than the installation of the other. Some diesel vehicles marketed in markets outside of North America are equipped with a second filler for diesel emission fluid. These vehicles have fuel filler doors that are rectangular rather than round. This change was made so that the same body stampings could be utilised for both petrol and diesel versions of the vehicles. Keeping the same form factor would probably make it possible to include a Tesla port in addition to the CCS port.

If the J-1722 charging connector, which is used for Level 2 charging and is currently utilised by every electric vehicle produced in the United States except Tesla (who even offers a J-1722 adapter to its customers), were to be dropped, owners of future Ford electric vehicles would be required to use an adapter for each of the Level 2 public charging cables that are currently in existence. That is not good for the customer experience.

And eliminating the CCS connector would need the use of a separate adapter that is significantly larger in size in order to charge at any of the tens of thousands of charging stations that use it. The cost of this adapter would be covered by the $5 billion in funding for the National Electric Vehicle Initiative that the federal government is distributing to all 50 states. Would Ford really walk away from all of those new fast-charging stations, making it necessary for customers to use an awkward converter rather than simply plugging in their vehicles as they do now?

Last but not least, Ford was taken aback by the public’s infatuation with the concept that an F-150 Lightning might provide power to a house for up to three days (with a number of caveats). This is referred to as vehicle-to-home, or V2H for short. It is the final stage before vehicle-to-grid, also known as V2G, in which the car can support the stability of the electric grid by charging in both directions. The Tesla connector can only be used in one direction, and there is no option for using a Tesla to provide backup power to a home or other building. Again, not exactly friendly to the customers.

In its next generation of electric vehicles, I believe that Ford will, at the very least initially, include both the CCS and J-1772 connectors in addition to the Tesla connector. This would make it possible for it to state things like, “Not only are you able to charge your EV at any charging site in the United States, but you are also able to do so without carrying a single adapter.”

That is a feat that not even Tesla can claim to have accomplished. I believe—and sources suggest—that there are several reasons that will exactly what’ll happen, even if there are many reasons why Ford may opt not to build two different DC fast-charging ports into their future electric vehicles, but there are also many reasons why it won’t happen.

Who Will Own Electric Vehicle Charging in the Year 2030?

Even though contemporary electric vehicles have been available for purchase for the past 12 years, we are still in the beginning stages of finding out how to cover the vast expanse of the United States with a sufficient number of DC fast-charging stations to facilitate the transition to EVs that will take place over the next 30 years. However, early drivers of petrol vehicles experienced their own kind of range anxiety as well.

It is still unknown whether or not the existing networks will still be operational in 2030. Smaller networks will almost certainly be consolidated into larger ones, but it is reasonable to anticipate that other actors will also supply EV charging over the long term. These participants include electric utilities (who will still need to buy or provide the electricity), convenience store owners, fossil fuel businesses, and possibly even automobile manufacturers themselves.

But in one single sweep, Ford’s decision served as notice to all of the preexisting charge networks that what they’ve supplied isn’t even close to being good enough. It It It satisfies all the requirements for the charge. Most importantly, it will lessen the stress that comes with driving an electric vehicle over long distances. whether it’s a Ford or Lincoln electric vehicle, at the very least.

It’s possible that Tesla will get into further arrangements like this. However, Ford was the first to achieve this goal, and it is anticipated that all drivers of electric vehicles will profit in the long run.