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GM Follows Ford's Lead and Embraces Tesla's Charging Standard

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Tesla, GM, and Ford

General Motors (GM) has announced its intention to adopt Tesla's electric vehicle charging standard for its future EVs, following a similar partnership recently formed between Ford and Tesla. This development indicates a potential trend where other automakers may also opt for this charging standard. By integrating Tesla's technology, GM's EV owners will gain access to Tesla's vast network of over 12,000 Superchargers across the United States and Canada. GM CEO Mary Barra expressed the belief that this collaboration could establish a unified standard for North America, fostering greater EV adoption.

GM plans to equip its upcoming generations of EVs with Tesla's charge port known as the North American Charging Standard (NACS), starting in 2025. Tesla's charging connector distinguishes itself from the commonly used Combined Charging System (CCS) connectors in North American and European EVs due to its compact design, user-friendliness, and superior performance. While Tesla's chargers were previously exclusive to Tesla vehicles, the company has taken steps to promote NACS as the new standard in North America by sharing its EV charging connector design with network operators and automakers. As a result, GM vehicle owners with CCS charge ports will be able to access adapters by early spring 2024. Even after GM transitions entirely to NACS, owners will still have the option to use CCS chargers with a different adapter.

During a Twitter Spaces conversation between Mary Barra and Elon Musk, the CEOs of GM and Tesla, respectively, Musk emphasized the importance of creating a level playing field for consumers. He expressed that individuals should feel comfortable purchasing either a Tesla or a GM EV, assuring equal support for both brands. Musk emphasized that the primary goal is advancing the electric vehicle revolution.

While these partnerships between Ford, GM, and Tesla have the potential to shape the EV charging industry, they also carry the risk of further fragmentation. Europe has already banned the use of NACS chargers, and the United States has allocated up to $7.5 billion in incentives to develop publicly available CCS chargers. Carter Li, CEO of SWTCH Energy, an EV-charging solutions provider, believes that the Ford-Tesla partnership has the potential to revolutionize the allocation of public funding for charging infrastructure and meet evolving charging needs, creating a more scalable and robust network.

However, not everyone shares this optimism. CharIN, a global association dedicated to promoting CCS adoption, issued a statement criticizing the Tesla-Ford partnership as a hindrance to the global EV industry's growth. CharIN argues that CCS is the established global standard, prioritizing international interoperability and future-proofing to accommodate various use cases beyond public DC fast charging.

In summary, General Motors' decision to integrate Tesla's charging standard into its future EVs aligns with the recent partnership between Ford and Tesla. The move aims to provide GM EV owners access to Tesla's extensive Supercharger network. While this development has the potential to streamline charging infrastructure in North America, it also raises concerns regarding the fragmentation of the EV charging industry, with regional differences in charging standards and competing alliances.


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