February 21, 2024

General Motors said on Thursday it would use Tesla technology to charge its electric vehicles, including selling models that use Tesla’s pioneering plug.

The announcement, two weeks after Ford struck a similar deal, could make Tesla’s plug the industry standard and squeeze companies racing to build a similar network at a time when sales of electric vehicles are surging. The agreements mean Ford and GM owners will have access to Tesla chargers, which are often the only ones available in many places and are known for their reliability.

For GM customers, “it’s practically doubled the chances of getting a charger,” the automaker’s chief executive, Mary T. Barra, said in a live stream. some” twitter conversation Join Tesla CEO and Twitter owner Elon Musk.

Mr. Musk said the deal “would be a fundamentally good thing to drive the adoption of electric vehicles.”

But that could raise concerns that Tesla, which already dominates electric vehicle sales, could overwhelm rivals in the fast-growing charging business.

While GM gets more chargers, Tesla will make money selling energy to owners of models made by other automakers. Tesla charges owners of other cars more than owners of its own cars. The electric car company also needs to open up its network to get some of the $7.5 billion the federal government has allocated to speed up the construction of charging stations.

By adopting Tesla’s charging standard, Ford and GM also risk becoming dependent on their strongest rivals. Neither Michigan-based automaker sells as many EVs as Tesla does, nor does it operate a charging network.

The deal also has risks for Tesla. The popularity of its cars has caused congestion at the company’s charging stations in some cities and along some highways.Tesla owners could be getting annoyed that they now have to line up for cars made by Ford and GM

“I don’t think Tesla owners will be happy to see a Ford Mustang Mach-E charging while they’re waiting in line,” said Ben Rose, president of Battle Road Research, which focuses on the auto industry.

The battle between Tesla charging plugs and those currently used by Ford, General Motors and other automakers is reminiscent of the rivalry between Betamax and VHS video tapes in the 1980s. VHS ultimately won the battle.

On one level, the race between standards is a volatile technical issue, with each party claiming its own plug is the better option. But it could have long-term consequences for the millions of people who are expected to switch to electric vehicles in the coming years.

Tesla sells cars with North American charging standard plugs. Ford, General Motors, and most other automakers sell vehicles that come equipped with plugs that use combination charging system plugs. The two are incompatible.

Fast chargers from companies like EVgo or Electrify America often have plugs that can charge Teslas, as well as cars from manufacturers that use CCS, including Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Volvo. For most of its roughly 10-year history, Tesla’s network — which operates more than half of the country’s nearly 30,000 fast chargers — was closed to cars from other manufacturers, but the company recently began allowing other manufacturers to The car uses part of its charger.

On Thursday, rivals responded with restraint. “We support any move to increase adoption of electric vehicles,” Blink Charging CEO Brendan Jones said in an email. Adjustments will be made if necessary.”

Investors welcomed the deal. Shares of Tesla and GM rose about 3% in extended trading on Thursday.

This year will be crucial for GM’s electric vehicle ambitions. The company is still weeks away from offering a battery-powered version of its Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. It also plans to launch electric iterations of the Blazer and Equinox sport utility vehicles.

Ford is working to speed up production of its electric F-150 Lightning at a plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

In his conversation with Ms. Barra, Mr. Musk said Tesla would not use its control of the largest charging network in the United States to disadvantage competitors. But if Tesla’s standard becomes dominant, other carriers will rely on competitors for the information they need to manufacture and install charging networks.

Jonathan Levy, EVgo’s chief commercial officer, said the company hopes the North American standard “is published in a way that enables suppliers across the industry to provide EV drivers with more charging options.”

Starting in early 2024, Ford and GM owners will be able to purchase adapters to connect to Tesla fast chargers. The companies plan to sell vehicles using Tesla’s North American plug in 2025. Owners need an adapter to connect to the CCS charger.

By teaming up with archrivals, Ford and GM are acknowledging they need Tesla’s network to sell electric vehicles.

“Reliable, widespread public charging is a key driver of expanding EV adoption,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said in an email last month when announcing the deal with Tesla. “The Tesla Supercharger network has proven reliability and already has charging corridors in the US and Canada.”

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