DETROIT (AP) — Starting next year, owners of electric vehicles made by General Motors and Ford will be able to charge their EVs at several of Tesla’s charging stations, the largest network in the country.
As part of their move, both Detroit-area automakers have decided to use Tesla’s EV charging connector, the plug that connects an electric vehicle to a charging station.
GM and Ford join forces with Tesla’s charging system, the rest of the auto industry may be forced to follow suit. If so, this would be a huge hit for Tesla, ensuring a new and guaranteed revenue stream for years to come.
Currently, there are two main types of EV charging plugs: Tesla’s North American charging standard and CCS, which is used by all other automakers. It’s not yet clear which other automakers might join Ford and GM.
What is going to change?
With 17,000 charging plugs, Tesla commands the largest network in the US. Its stations can charge faster than others. They are often reliable, and in safe locations close to prime travel corridors. According to new deals with GM and Ford, those companies’ EVs will be able to charge at 12,000 Tesla Supercharger plugs starting next year. Tesla is the top seller of EVs in the US, GM no. 2 and Ford no. 3. Because those three companies control a large portion of the EV market, analysts say other automakers are likely to strike deals with Tesla. At a competitive disadvantage. “Do I want my customers to not have access to superchargers, and I’m going to charge them $100,000 per vehicle?” Gary Silberg, global head of automotive at KPMG said.
What happens if I own a non-Tesla EV?
If it’s made by GM or Ford, you’ll need to buy an adapter so you can plug into Tesla chargers. It is not clear how much these will cost. You can also charge continuously on networks with CCS connectors. If your car is made by some other manufacturer, you may not have access to Tesla’s chargers at this time. But the network of public stations with CCS connectors is growing — nearly 54,000 locations, with roughly 139,000 plugs, according to the Department of Energy. However, only 7,400 such stations are DC fast chargers, which provide a significant charge within minutes.
What happens if I buy a non-Tesla EV in the future?
By 2025, GM and Ford say they will begin installing ports on new EVs that are compatible with Tesla chargers. To use a CCS charger instead, you’ll need to own an adapter or find a charging station that accommodates both technologies. While other automakers may switch to Tesla’s system, at least for a few years, you’ll likely need that adapter. “My guess is that what we’ll see by 2027 is that there will be no new EVs built for North America with CCS ports,” said Sam Abulzamid, an analyst at Guidehouse Insights.
Who is the big winner here?
GM and Ford did not disclose many details about the financial arrangements. But it’s clear that Tesla will enjoy a boost in revenue as Ford and GM vehicles charge more. GM said it didn’t spend anything on the deal; Its customers have to pay Tesla. GM and Ford EV owners will also win, as they’ll get double the number of chargers they had before.
If other automakers go with Tesla, companies that build their own charging networks like ChargePoint, EVICO or Electrify America will feel the pressure. They need to make sure all their fast chargers can work with the Tesla Plug — or to be more competitive by adding stations in better locations to make them more reliable. “So far, they basically don’t have to compete with Tesla for owners of CCS-equipped vehicles,” Abulzamid noted. As Tesla’s network is open to more vehicles, Silberg said other companies may struggle to attract investors. However, as they adapt, consumers should get more charging options. “It will light a fire under those companies,” he said.
What are other automakers saying about joining Tesla?
It differs. Kia, Nissan and Toyota declined to comment. Hyundai says it is continuing to evaluate its technology but has nothing to announce. Stellandis said it works on responding. Volkswagen is committed to the CCS standard. Electrify America, founded with money to settle VW emissions cheating, plans to double its number of chargers by 2026. Now there are 840 stations and about 4,000 plugs.