Inside the walled garden: Tesla will share its chargers

Tesla charging stations are no longer forbidden to drivers of other-brand EVs. No more will Tesla chargers be an exclusive right.
29 May 2023

No more walled gardens for Tesla Superchargers. Source: Shutterstock

• Tesla shares its charging network with Ford.
• Move could significantly reduce the cost of EVs.
• A move towards more reliable EV charging?

Tesla charging stations will no longer be a members-only club starting early next year. Ford EV customers will have access to more than 12,000 Tesla Superchargers across the US and Canada. The move will double the number of fast-chargers available to Ford electric vehicle owners starting in Spring 2024.

Currently, to use Tesla charging stations, Ford EV customers need an adapter developed by Tesla, allowing vehicles fitted with the Combined Charging System (CCS) port access to V3 Superchargers. However, starting in 2025, Ford’s second generation of EVs will be equipped with the NACS charging port, meaning an adapter will no longer be needed to use Tesla charging stations.

“Tesla has led the industry in creating a large, reliable and efficient charging system and we are pleased to be able to join forces in a way that benefits customers and overall EV adoption,” said Marin Gjaja, chief customer officer, Ford Model e.

Screenshot of Twitter 26/05/23

In addition, Ford dealers are adding roughly 1,800 public-facing fast-chargers and locations to the BlueOval Charge Network by 2024. The BlueOval Charging Network is currently North America’s largest public charging network, with over 84,000 charging stations including over 10,000 DC fast-chargers.

The addition of over 12,000 Tesla charging stations will create the single largest integrated fast-charge network across the US and Canada. Automatic routing to the nearest charger and seamless billing via FordPass aims to significantly reduce charge anxiety for Ford customers.

“This is great news for our customers, who will have unprecedented access to the largest network of fast-chargers in the US and Canada,” said Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO. “Widespread access to fast-charging is absolutely vital to our growth as an EV brand, and this breakthrough agreement comes as we are ramping up production of our popular Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning, and preparing to launch a series of next-generation EVs starting in 2025.”

Tesla charging stations aren’t a “walled garden”

Elon Musk joined Farley in a surprise event on Twitter Spaces, the audio livestream function of Twitter, where the announcement was made. The news wasn’t a total surprise: Tesla already planned to partly open its charging network to all electric car models by the end of 2024.

The Biden administration has set out to expand EV adoption, and it was partly White House urging that caused Tesla’s decision to open up at least 7,500 charging stations to all EV drivers, including 3,500 along US highways. Likely another motivator for Tesla was the access to $7.5bn in subsidies that the move will allow.

Musk said that “we don’t want the Tesla Supercharger network to be like a walled garden.”

By making it easier to charge EVs regularly, alleviating charge anxiety, the vehicles will theoretically get cheaper. This is because, due to the vast distances some drivers need to travel, the remedy to a lack of charging stations was bigger batteries.

However, that drives up the cost of electric vehicles, which already come at a premium compared to their traditionally powered counterparts. “Our industry is obsessed with these huge batteries, and I think that is maybe not the right approach,” Farley said. “We should make the battery as small as possible . . . but have a really great fast-charging experience combined with that, so we don’t have to be driving around $20,000 of extra battery.”

Electro-power – coming soon to a Ford near you…

Another positive is that making Tesla charging stations suitable for more vehicles means fewer new charging points need to be built – saving time, money and resources. As such, the environmentally friendly option stays that way!