This isn’t for Tesla owners.
But for the rest of the EV owning world, public charging can be confusing and frustrating.
Ford recognized this by announcing a partnership with Tesla on Thursday (May 25th).
“In early 2024, all of existing customers and future customers will have access to 12,000 [Tesla] fast-chargers across the US,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said* on Twitter Spaces on Thursday.
Later, Ford will be equipping its second generation of EVs with the NACS (Tesla plug) interface, Farley said.
“There will be an adapter** that will be in production early next year,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said during the event. “It will be quite affordable…in the hundreds of dollars range,” Musk added.
(Recording of joint announcements here.)
Non-Tesla Public charging woes
This initiative by Ford speaks to ongoing issues with the non-Tesla fast-charging (Level 3) network.
One thread on Reddit (“Considering selling my non-Tesla because of the charging network”) suggested trading in a non-Tesla EV because of the unpredictability of the non-Tesla charging network, while another long thread discussed the woes of non-Tesla charging.
The frustration is understandable. And is pretty easy to spot in Los Angeles (where I live).
It usually goes something like this:
Scenario 1: too few chargers per station
This is a common problem in the non-Tesla fast-charging network, sometimes forcing long waits to access a charger. And getting worse as a flood of new EVs hit the road. Non-Tesla charging stations often max out at between four and six chargers.
Scenario 2: spotty availability
While this can apply to Tesla Supercharger locations too, historically it has been a serious shortcoming of non-Tesla fast-charging networks. This is improving but there are still vast gaps in the US where there are no fast-charging stations.
Scenario 3: chargers down
Especially frustrating for new (non-Tesla) EV owners. You plug in and wait for something to happen. Nothing happens. Head scratching ensues. Helpful user who is getting a charge from a known, working charger (and senses the user’s frustration) frees them up.
Time wasted fiddling with the charger and waiting for another charger to free up: 20 minutes (plus actual charging time).
Scenario 4: software
The charger software starts but after a few minutes it goes out and asks you to unplug and retry but the software times out again. The user goes back to the car and sits and contemplates the inscrutability of public charging.
Time wasted: 10 minutes.
Scenario 5: the app
App doesn’t work. After several attempts, the user gives up and resorts to credit card.
Time wasted: five minutes.
For non-Tesla owners, charging is often undependable. And enough to deter some consumers from buying an EV that’s not a Tesla.
*Farley said he experienced Tesla Supercharger envy when he was on a recent road trip with his family in California.
Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning and E-Transit customers will be able to access the Superchargers with an adapter and necessary software, Ford said in its official announcement.
**Tesla had agreed previously (separate from the Ford announcement) to make some of its Superchargers accessible to non-Tesla owners and there is very limited availability now.