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Ford and Tesla Announce Game-Changing Partnership

Ford and Tesla Announce Game-Changing Partnership

  Traditional automakers face many hurdles in adopting electric vehicles (EV), so this partnership could provide them with much-needed assistance in this respect. Ford CEO Jim Farley joined Tesla CEO Elon Musk for a Twitter Spaces chat to introduce their initiative. Starting next year, Ford EV owners can access Tesla's Supercharger network with an adapter. By 2025, all Ford EVs will feature North American Charging Standard connectors. Access to Tesla’s Supercharger Network Tesla currently boasts 18,711 Superchargers and 10,000 "destination" chargers with their own plug, making up 60% of fast charging stations in the US. Tesla boasts the world's largest, most reliable, and fastest-growing EV charging network - but until this week, only owners of Tesla-produced EVs were eligible to use its network. Ford recently granted access to Ford drivers of its own EVs via Ford's network. Starting in 2024, owners of Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning and E-Transit cars will have access to Tesla Supercharger network using an adapter provided with their cars or available separately for purchase. All new Ford EVs will include North American Charging Standard connector built-in so no adapter is necessary for connecting to Tesla Supercharger network. Ford announced it will provide customers access to its BlueOval Charge network of EV charging providers, such as those operated by Electrify America, EVgo, ChargePoint and others. The BlueOval Charge network boasts over 10,000 DC fast-charging stations that can be found using FordPass mobile app or its onboard route planning software. Ford-Tesla will charge a fee to use their agreement, though no details have been revealed yet about what exactly that entails. There may be an annual subscription fee or possibly monthly charges; but many EV owners believe the deal is worthwhile given access to Tesla's superior network for fast charging long journeys. Loren McDonald, CEO of EV industry consultancy EVAdoption, notes her surprise at seeing Ford sign on with Tesla's plan and notes how it makes good business sense for both companies involved. Tesla chargers have been installed twice as fast as vehicle growth over time with proven reliability; she suggests if companies want to make an argument for more EV adoption this could be one solution to do it." Some EV owners are already concerned that the deal will increase competition for Supercharger stalls and worsen congestion. Helen Matthews of Philadelphia who put over 200,000 miles on her Model Y in its first year says she is "somewhat wary" of how this might impact her experience with the Supercharger network. Access to Federal Funding Federal funding may provide Tesla competitors with the means they need to combat the electric car maker. The White House announced in February that 7500 of Tesla's charging stations would become accessible to non-Tesla drivers by the end of 2024; but accessing such a network requires enormous efforts and risks; from complex technology requirements and massive financial commitments to potentially losing out to consortium bids for infrastructure operations that impose different standards than Tesla due to antitrust concerns or simply being more cost effective than what Tesla could provide. As Ford recently demonstrated, one way of mitigating these risks is for major automakers to join Tesla in partnership and gain access to their Supercharger network. Ford took this approach with this week's announcement and has received enthusiastic reactions both within industry circles as well as by media. Ford CEO Jim Farley made the announcement during a "Twitter Spaces" discussion between himself and Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter. This unique format provides CEOs of rival firms an opportunity to discuss their respective plans directly with each other. Farley was quick to praise Tesla's battery technology while commenting that building an EV from scratch can be "incredibly hard," saying: "You need to be really intelligent about it." Musk was equally effusive in his praise for Ford. He noted the company's immensely popular pickup trucks, as well as how it had beat Tesla to market by offering an electric F-150 by April of this year. Musk also highlighted how Ford's electric SUVs, including Mustang Mach-E models, have delivered on their promise and captured consumer interest. Ford announced on October 29 that its Blue Oval electric vehicles will gain access to Tesla's Supercharger network - comprising 12,000 locations in North America - by early next year, according to a Ford statement. This deal marks Ford's inaugural foray into utilising Tesla's network. Integration of Tesla’s North American Charging Standard Jim Farley and Elon Musk recently met live on Twitter Spaces to announce a groundbreaking agreement between Ford and Tesla CEOs that could revolutionize EV charging for years to come. Their announcement marked the first time any major automaker agreed to integrate Tesla's North American Charging Standard (NACS) ports into its vehicles; this gives Ford drivers access to an extensive and reliable charging network rather than public stations operated by networks like Electrify America or EVgo that have proven unreliable in charging. Ford and Tesla's collaboration is a game-changer for all EV makers and chargers alike, as this partnership puts pressure on charging networks to improve reliability and provide users with an enhanced user experience - or risk being removed from Ford's BlueOval Charge Network altogether - sending out a strong signal that should make it difficult for other EV-charging networks to resist joining forces with them. Current Ford EV owners can access Tesla Supercharger network through an adapter; however, from next year the Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning and E-Transit models will come equipped with NACS connectors and have direct access to Tesla network without an adapter. Software integration and activation must take place through FordPass or Pro Intelligence app for this process to occur. Ford customers will benefit from this move, which provides access to one of the world's most-utilized and reliable fast charging networks - Tesla. Although customers still have the option of using BlueOval Charge Network or other public charging stations, many will likely migrate towards Tesla as soon as possible. Tesla will benefit greatly from this decision as they expand their network with help from rival automakers. Furthermore, this move may hasten Tesla's move past their competition in fully electric car sales, something Ford and other EV manufacturers that currently lag behind Tesla may see as an existential threat. Access to Ford’s Charging Network Ford and Tesla made an historic agreement Thursday allowing its current EV drivers access to Tesla's network of fast charging stations for two years. Owners of Fusion Energi, Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning vehicles will gain access to Tesla's 12,000+ Supercharger stations for charging. FordPass Charging Network will feature a collection of stations that are easily found and paid for through either their car's infotainment system or dedicated app, making charging effortless. Ford will also include DC fast-charging ports from partners like Electrify America that can rapidly recharge batteries from 10% to 80% in 45 minutes. Ford Pass members will enjoy free use for two years; after that, however, Ford says the network won't offer free charging services; rather it will make money through services such as aggregation. Ford is teaming up with Greenlots, an EV charging network locating and mapping service, to develop and expand its charging station network over time. Ford also plans on taking advantage of existing networks from EVgo, ChargePoint and Electrify America for this endeavor. Traditional automakers rely on an elaborate network of independent EV charging providers rather than invest directly in infrastructure themselves. To avoid capital investments and regulatory hassles associated with building their own network, these automakers have reached agreements between individual networks to allow drivers from each network to plug in at each other's stations. Before recently, each major non-Tesla network operated separately and required its own cards and apps for usage. Traveling often meant packing multiple membership cards in your glove box for each destination on your trip. Nowadays however, large networks have formed roaming agreements so one card or app works at most of them. Ford and Tesla's recent alliance is an indicator that America's long-established, yet patchy network of charging stations may finally be getting serious attention and growth. Both companies are working collaboratively to address technical issues, set standards, and provide seamless experiences to drivers of all brands - this may also put more pressure on rivals to collaborate to make the industry work for everyone.

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