GM to use Tesla charging network, joining Ford in leveraging the EV leader’s tech

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

Harry Langer | Defodi Images | Getty Images

DETROIT — General Motors will follow crosstown rival Ford Motor in partnering with Tesla to use the electric vehicle leader’s North American charging network and technologies.

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

GM, like Ford, will also begin installing a charging port used by Tesla, known as NACS, instead of the current industry-standard CCS in its EVs starting in 2025.

The partnerships with now two leading Detroit automakers is a major win for Tesla and its charging technology. It is expected to add pressure on other automakers — as well as the U.S. government, which is investing billions in building out an EV charging network — to adopt Tesla’s technology.

The deal is expected to be announced by GM CEO Mary Barra and Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a live audio discussion Thursday on Twitter Spaces. GM is ramping up production of its fully electric vehicles in pursuit of Tesla-level sales volumes in the segment.

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

“This collaboration is a key part of our strategy and an important next step in quickly 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 could help move the industry toward a single North American charging standard.”

The GM-Tesla deal, like Ford’s, is likely to be beneficial for both companies. It is expected to more than double access to fast chargers for GM’s and Ford’s customers and increase use of Tesla’s network.

Tesla says it has roughly 45,000 Supercharger connectors worldwide at 4,947 Supercharger Stations. The company does not break out how many are in the U.S. The U.S. Department of Energy reports the country only has about 5,300 CCS fast chargers.

Tesla previously discussed opening its private network to other EVs. White House officials announced in February that Tesla committed to opening up 7,500 of its charging stations to 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 out its own network. Instead, those automakers have announced partnerships with third-party companies that have often proven unreliable and frustrating to owners.

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

— CNBC’s Lora Kolodny and John Rosevear contributed to this report.

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GM to use Tesla charging network, joining Ford in leveraging the EV leader’s tech

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