DETROIT — Ford Motor will partner with Tesla on charging initiatives for its current and future electric vehicles in an unusual merger between the two rivals, the automakers’ CEOs announced Thursday.
Under the agreement, current Ford owners will have access to more than 12,000 Tesla Superchargers in the United States and Canada, starting early next year, through the use of an adapter. Additionally, Ford’s next generation of electric vehicles, expected by mid-decade, will include Tesla’s charging plug, allowing Ford vehicle owners to charge on Tesla superchargers without an adapter, making Ford the one of the first automakers to explicitly connect to the network.
The initiatives were announced by Ford CEO Jim Farley and Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a live audio chat on Twitter Spaces. They come as Ford tries to ramp up production of its all-electric vehicles in a bid to catch up to — or one day surpass — Tesla’s sales in that segment.
While Tesla still dominates the electric vehicle industry by far, Ford came in second in all-electric vehicle sales in the United States last year, with sales of 61,575 electric vehicles.
Farley said the company is “fully committed” to a unique US charging protocol that includes the Tesla plug port, known as NACS. It’s unclear whether Ford’s next-generation electric vehicles will retain the charging ports present on current models, known as CCS. A Ford spokesperson said the company had “this option available to us but has no news to share today.”
A separate Ford spokesperson told CNBC that charging prices “will be competitive in the marketplace.” The companies will release more details closer to an expected 2024 launch date.
Tesla had previously talked about opening up its private network to other electric vehicles. White House officials announced in February that Tesla had pledged to open 7,500 of its charging stations by the end of 2024 to non-Tesla electric vehicle drivers. Previously, the company’s chargers in the United States were primarily used and designed to be compatible with Tesla’s electric vehicles.
In Tesla’s first quarter shareholder presentation, the company revealed that it has approximately 45,000 supercharger connectors globally at 4,947 supercharger stations. The company does not disclose chargers by country or device revenue. It includes the revenue from its supercharging stations in a “services and other” segment.
The Twitter Spaces event between Farley and Musk on Thursday marks the latest interaction between the two leaders, who have a unique rivalry. They each expressed their admiration for the other, despite their businesses in direct competition.
Ford notably beat Tesla in the pickup segment by starting production of its F-150 Lightning, the electric version of its ever-popular trucks, in April 2022. Ford also heavily benchmarked the Tesla Model Y for its Mustang Mach-E crossover. and trailed Tesla in price. cuts in electrical crossings.
But Musk, who runs Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter, has repeatedly praised Ford as a historic American company, praising its ability to avoid bankruptcy, unlike crosstown rivals General Motors and Chrysler during the Great Recession. .
Such flattery was prevalent on Thursday’s call: “Working with Elon and his team, I’m really excited for our industry and for Ford customers,” Farley said. Musk then returned the favor: “It’s an honor to work with a great company like Ford,” he said.
Farley pushed Musk a bit, asking about the long-delayed new version of the company’s premier vehicle, the Roadster. Musk teased a Roadster refresh in fall 2017. He promised it would have a range of 620 miles per charge and three motors, among other features.
Today, he repeated Thursday, the new version of the Roadster is not even completely designed yet.
Earlier Thursday, Farley praised Tesla for its charging network at a Morgan Stanley conference, saying that while Ford has created its own charging products for commercial customers, automakers should consider collaborating on infrastructure. charge for the general public.
“It seems totally ridiculous that we have an infrastructure problem, and we can’t even agree on which plug to use,” Farley said, noting that Tesla’s charging plug is different from the one used by other car manufacturers. “I think the first step is to work together in a way that we don’t have, probably with newer EV brands and traditional automakers.”