Ford EV drivers in North America can now use Tesla's Supercharger network | Top Gear
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Friday 22nd September

Ford EV drivers in North America can now use Tesla's Supercharger network

Ford to adopt NACS in long term, and provide adapter short-term

Published: 26 May 2023

Ford has made a bold decision to adopt Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) technology. In a move that will enable Ford EV drivers to use Tesla Superchargers in the US and Canada, the decision marks an interesting step away from the Combined Charging System (CCS) port currently in play.

From early 2024, drivers of the Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning and E-Transit vans will be able to use over 22,000 DC fast-chargers. That number takes into account the 10,000 or so already in Ford’s BlueOval charging network.

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Initially, drivers will need to use an adapter to accept the NACS cable for a fast DC charge. They’ll also need their FordPass or Ford Pro Intelligence companion apps to activate and pay for the charge.

However, rather than stick two different ports on its vehicles, Ford has plans to integrate the NACS port into its vehicles in the longer term – removing the need for an adapter from 2025.

The Tesla-developed NACS plug and socket uses fewer pins, making it more slender and lightweight. The CCS plug, by comparison, is an ugly chunk of a thing. It's unwieldy for consumers and poses greater issues for accessbility. The way it’s been retro-fitted to combine Type 1 and 2 ports, and provide DC charging means also doesn’t transmit as much data during the charging process as the NACS.

Ford Model e's chief customer officer Marin Gjaja said: “The Tesla Supercharger network has excellent reliability and the NACS plug is smaller and lighter.  Overall, this provides a superior experience for customers.”

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Tesla announced in spring 2022 that the ‘Tesla connector’ would now be known as the ‘NACS connector’. By establishing a charging network in tandem with selling its vehicles, Tesla’s demonstrated a level of reliability and consistency that other networks – private or public – have yet to match.

Jim Farley, president of Ford, said: “This is great news for our customers who will have unprecedented access to the largest network of fast-chargers in the U.S. and Canada.

“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.”

Rebecca Tinucci, Tesla’s senior director of charging infrastructure, added: “We’ve spent the last 10 years building an industry-leading Charging Network that enables freedom to travel and provides charging confidence for our Tesla owners. We’re excited to deliver on our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy by welcoming Ford owners, and other electric vehicles who adopt NACS, to our thousands of Superchargers across North America.”

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Whether Ford’s decision will put pressure on other manufacturers to follow suit is yet to be seen.

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