General Motors will integrate Tesla’s electric vehicle charging standard in its future EVs, CEO Mary Barra said Thursday during a Twitter Spaces with Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The agreement between the erstwhile rivals comes less than two weeks after Ford announced a similar partnership, and signals that other automakers could soon follow.
As with the Ford partnership, owners of GM’s EVs will also have access to more than 12,000 Superchargers across the U.S. and Canada.
“I think we have a real opportunity here to really drive this to be the unified standard for North America, which I think will even enable more mass adoption,” said Barra.
Barra said its next generations of EVs will be equipped with Tesla’s charge port called the North American Charging Standard (NACS) starting in 2025.
Tesla vehicles come with a charging connector that provides both AC and up to 1 MW DC charging. Compared to the Combined Charging System (CCS) connectors commonly used in North American and European EVs, Tesla’s connector stands out due to its compact design, ease of use and better performance. While Tesla chargers have historically only been available to Tesla EVs, the company has made moves recently to establish NACS as the new standard in North America. Last year, Tesla shared its EV charging connector design to encourage network operators and automakers to embrace the new technology.
By early spring 2024, owners of GM vehicles with CCS charge ports will be able to access adapters, according to Barra. Once all GM EVs are built with the NACS standard, owners will still be able to access CCS chargers through a different adapter, the executive continued.
“This really will even the playing field,” said Musk during Thursday’s brief Twitter Spaces. “I think people should feel comfortable buying a Tesla or a GM car, and we will provide support equally to both. So the most important thing is that we advance the electric vehicle revolution.”
The partnerships with Ford and GM have the potential to splinter the EV charging industry further. Europe has banned the use of NACS chargers, and the U.S. has provided up to $7.5 billion in incentives to build out publicly available CCS chargers.
“The partnership between Ford and Tesla has the potential to revolutionize the allocation of public funding at the local, state and federal levels for public charging infrastructure,” says Carter Li, CEO of SWTCH Energy, an EV-charging solutions provider. “In general, the partnership will meet evolving charging needs and create a more scalable and robust infrastructure.”
Others are not so optimistic. CharIN, a global association founded to promote the adoption of CCS, issued a statement this week condemning the Tesla-Ford partnership as an impediment to the global EV industry’s ability to thrive.
“CCS is the global standard and therefore focuses on international interoperability and, unlike NACS, is future-proofed to support many other use cases beyond public DC fast charging,” reads the statement from CharIN.