Ford is followed by GM and Tesla as partners in the EV charging network

Tesla logo on a charging station on May 26, 2023.

Harry Langer | Defody Pictures | Good pictures

DETROIT — General Motors is following crosstown rival Ford Motor Co. by partnering with Tesla to use the electric vehicle leader’s North American charging network and technologies.

Under the deal, starting next year GM vehicles will be able to access Tesla’s 12,000 fast chargers through the Detroit automaker’s EV charging app using an adapter.

GM, like Ford, will begin installing the charging port used by Tesla, known as NACS, or the North American Charging Standard, on its EVs starting in 2025 instead of the current industry-standard CCS.

Now the partnership with two leading Detroit automakers is a big win for Tesla and its charging technology. That’s expected to add pressure to other automakers — and the U.S. government Invests billions Building an EV charging network – to emulate Tesla’s technology.

The deal was announced by GM CEO Mary Barra and Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a live audio discussion Thursday at Twitter Spaces. GM is ramping up production of its all-electric vehicles to keep up with Tesla-level sales in the segment.

It also marks a stark reversal in strategy for GM. Weeks ago, when Ford announced its own partnership with Tesla, GM worked with engineering organization SAE International to develop and refine an open connector standard for CCS.

“This collaboration is an important part of our strategy and an important next step in rapidly expanding access to fast chargers for our customers,” Barra said in a statement. “Not only will it help make the transition to electric vehicles more seamless for our customers, but it will also help move the industry toward a North American charging standard.”

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Adding to the rivalry’s interest: The Twitter space was Barra’s first tweet since Oct. 27, when Musk stopped using the social media platform when he became the owner. GM stopped advertising on the platform at that time.

A GM-Tesla deal like Ford would be beneficial for both companies. It’s expected to double access to fast chargers for GM and Ford’s customers and increase utilization of Tesla’s network.

Tesla says it has about 45,000 Supercharger connectors at 4,947 Supercharger stations worldwide. The company didn’t disclose how many there are in the U.S. The U.S. Department of Energy says there are only 5,300 CCS fast chargers in the U.S.

Tesla has previously discussed opening up its private network to other EVs. White House officials announced in February that Tesla has committed to opening 7,500 charging stations for non-Tesla EV drivers by the end of 2024.

Public charging of electric vehicles is a major concern for potential buyers, and no automaker other than Tesla has successfully built its own network. Instead, those automakers have announced partnerships with third-party companies that are often unreliable and frustrating for owners.

Most American drivers log vehicle miles from home to nearby destinations. But EV buyers who want to take long road trips, or who don’t have access to a garage with a charger, often worry about reliable, public charging access.

— CNBC Laura Kolodny And John Roseware contributed to this report.

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