Electric vehicles (EVs) from General Motors (GM) are set to plug into Tesla’s extensive charging network starting early next year. Following suit with Ford, GM will adopt Tesla’s connector, the essential plug that links an EV to a charging station.
GM’s move was announced during a Twitter Spaces conversation between GM CEO Mary Barra and her Tesla counterpart, Elon Musk. This follows an announcement two weeks earlier from Ford CEO Jim Farley who declared Ford’s switch to Tesla’s connector and access to its expansive EV-charging network.
In an unprecedented turn, Tesla’s stock soared 6% to a year high after the announcement, with GM and Ford rising 3% and 2%, respectively. Initially, GM and Ford EV owners will need an adapter to use Tesla’s stations, with a full switch to Tesla’s North American Charging Standard connector anticipated for new EVs in 2025.
With approximately 17,000 Supercharger stations across the US, Tesla boasts a substantial charging advantage. Of the 54,000 public charging stations in the US, as cited by the Department of Energy, Tesla’s outpace the rest in charging speed.
“Like Ford, we see this as an opportunity to expand access to charging,” Barra stated, expressing GM’s aspiration for the industry-wide adoption of the Tesla charging connector.
Assuring fairness, Musk stated, “We will provide support equally to both.” He emphasized the prime goal: advancing the electric vehicle revolution.
While the financial terms of the agreement remain undisclosed, GM clarified it is not making any payments to Tesla. As a result of the deal, Tesla can anticipate improved network utilization and increased charging revenue, according to GM spokesperson Darryll Harrison.
Specifics concerning customer access to Tesla’s charging network are yet to be determined. Potential provisions include a monthly charge for GM EV owners or pay-per-use options. An adapter purchase will likely be necessary for current GM owners.
The agreement marks a significant shift in the EV landscape, giving GM and Ford EV owners greater charging access and potentially establishing Tesla’s connector as the industry standard. The deal, however, could spark contention among Tesla owners who might now face increased competition for charging space, especially at busier stations.
But as Barra highlighted, joining Tesla’s network would almost double the number of chargers available to GM EV owners. “At the end of the day, we’re looking at what’s best for our customers,” she said.
The broadening use of Tesla’s connector could also mean a substantial revenue increase for the company if other large EV makers follow suit. However, some believe Tesla may keep part of its network exclusive to its own vehicles to prevent potential access delays for its customers.
For the industry as a whole, the shift towards a lighter, easier-to-handle connector like Tesla’s could signify a major step towards standardization, benefitting all EV owners.
The White House earlier revealed plans to open 7,500 chargers from Tesla’s Supercharger network to non-Tesla EVs by the end of 2024, marking a promising, albeit slow, start.