EVs Are Switching to Tesla Chargers. Here's When It'll Actually Happen
From Ford and GM to Lucid and Polestar, carmakers are all slowly announcing they're adopting Tesla's charging standard. Here's the full list of which brands will soon have access to the Supercharger, and when.
Corinne ReichertSenior Writer
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
I've been covering technology and mobile for 12 years, first as a telecommunications reporter and assistant editor at ZDNet in Australia, then as CNET's West Coast head of breaking news, and now in the Thought Leadership team.
Remember when it was a novelty to see a Tesla or a Prius on the road? Living in California, nowadays almost every second car I see is a Tesla or another kind of electric car. They'll become even more commonplace as states like California outlaw the sale of new gas-guzzling cars by 2035 and people become more climate-conscious.
Sales of electric vehicles are expected to increase by 35% worldwide in 2023 to hit 14 million sold by the end of 2023 and are predicted to make up 60% of all vehicle sales in China, the US and Europe by 2030. That means we'll need charging stations to be as common as gas stations.
"This is going to be huge for range anxiety," said Amaiya Khardenavis, research analyst at Wood Mackenzie, adding that there are now 34,000 fast chargers in the US and 60% of them are Tesla owned. "You can imagine the kind of reach they'll get by using the network."
Below, I'll explain when the switch will happen, whether you'll be able to use Tesla chargers with your EV, whether you'll need to buy an adapter or if that EV you've been eyeing to buy will soon come with a Tesla port.
Different EV chargers: CCS vs. NACS
Right now, there are two main ways electric cars are charged: the Combined Charging System and the North American Charging Standard. Tesla devised NACS back in 2012, and in 2022, it announced it would allow other cars to use it.
The main technical differences between CCS and NACS? Tesla's NACS connector is smaller and the cable is more lightweight, meaning it's easier to plug in and charge your car. CCS chargers pack 350kW of power, and Tesla Superchargers 250kW.
"The ability to access the Tesla Supercharger network increases choice and availability for non-Tesla EV drivers," said Loren McDonald, CEO of analysis and insights group EVAdoption. "Tesla Supercharger stations often will have 12, 20 or more chargers with likely all of them working. Whereas many of the charging stations offered by other charging networks may only have four to eight chargers."
Add to the greater availability of Tesla chargers the fact that a recent study in the San Francisco Bay Area found that CCS chargers were only functioning 72% of the time. Whereas Tesla has 99% uptime on its chargers, making them far more reliable.
And as demands increase on not only the number of chargers but also their capacity and speed, we're only going to need them more and more. Read on for when the switch to Tesla charging is happening for every carmaker.
The big switch
The switchover to NACS started with Ford CEO Jim Farley, according to McDonald. "He and his team were frustrated with the poor charging experience their Mustang Mach-E customers were having when charging at Electrifying America charging stations," McDonald says. Solving the customer experience problem would mean selling more Ford EVs.
As a result, Ford partnered with competitor Tesla, and GM soon followed. The reality, McDonald said, is that automakers don't want to invest in rolling out charging stations themselves. GM CEO Mary Barra said the Tesla deal would save the company up to $400 million.
So what's in it for Tesla? "Tesla spun off the supercharger division into a separate entity and sees larger revenue generation opportunities as [a provider] like Electrify America or ChargePoint," said Sandeep Mukunda, IDC research manager for digital automotive and transportation strategies. "Tesla still has a significant advantage over other brands in terms of in-vehicle tech and pricing, so it is not seen as a big threat."
The question remains on whether charging will be as seamless with non-Tesla vehicles at Tesla charging stations. Khardenavis says we might see a hit in EV sales over the next two years, because why buy an EV now with an adapter instead of waiting until 2025 for the NACS charging built in?
"But hopefully it's a net positive for the future," Khardenavis said.
One hurdle remains: In President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill passed in 2021, $7.5 billion was set aside to help fund a network of EV chargers across the US using the CCS standard. The federal government still requires CCS plugs at charging stations that wish to receive this federal funding.
Will you need an adapter? Will you have to pay for one?
Until new EVs are produced starting in 2025 with built-in compatibility with Tesla chargers, you will need an adapter to make the NACS plug fit into your car.
I spoke to several carmakers, but they've balked at saying whether you'll have to pay for those adapters yourself, or whether they'll be provided at the point of sale. If you already own an EV from another car manufacturer, chances are high you'll be buying the charging adapter yourself, whether through Tesla or your car brand.
McDonald estimates it could cost between $175 and $250.
Will you have to pay to use Tesla chargers?
It's a safe bet that you'll have to pay to use Tesla chargers on the road, but the question is whether you'll be paying more than Tesla owners to use them.
Tesla has reassured its drivers they'll "have access to the lowest Supercharger pricing," whereas non-Tesla drivers will see pricing that "reflects additional costs incurred to support charging a broad range of vehicles and adjustments to our sites to accommodate these vehicles."
Tesla says you can lower the per kilowatt-hour price with a charging membership, though. You can check out all the pricing in the Tesla app on iPhone and Android.
How will you know where you can charge your EV?
Once your non-Tesla EV has either an adapter or charging port as standard, car companies will add Tesla chargers to their maps on your onboard car software and apps. You'll be able to see all the additional sites where you can charge your EV safely.
When will the switch happen?
During 2024, carmakers will begin providing adapters for drivers of their current EVs. From 2025, new EVs will come equipped with Tesla charging ports built in.
See the sections below for who is making the switch and when.
Which EVs will switch to Tesla chargers?
One of the latest to adopt the charging standard is Subaru, which announced Nov. 1 that it had reached an agreement with Tesla to adopt NACS on its charging ports for vehicles launching from the beginning of 2025.
Until 2025, Subaru will provide its customers with access to a NACS adapter, which it said will give them access to more than 15,000 Tesla Superchargers in North America.
The BlueOval Charge network contains all of Ford's EV charging partners including Electrify America, EVgo and ChargePoint, with Tesla to be added. Ford customers can search and access BlueOval on their FordPass mobile app or their onboard route-planning software.
A Tesla-developed hardware adapter will convert the NACS cable to the CCS port on Ford's F-150 Lightning, Mustang Mach-E and E-Transit EVs, with activation and payment to then take place on the FordPass app or Ford Pro Intelligence software onboard its EVs.
Honda EVs sold from 2025 onward will come fitted with a Tesla charging port, including a new EV to be launched that year. EVs that are sold in North America before 2025 that come with CCS ports are "being developed to be compatible with NACS through the use of a charging adaptor."
Until compatibility is built in, Tesla's Supercharger Network will be available for GM EV drivers in 2024 through the use of an adapter that will allow NACS-enabled vehicles to be charged on CCS-capable fast charge stations, GM said.
This will help create an "ecosystem that will accelerate mass EV adoption," GM CEO Mary Barra said in June. "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."
"We are happy to provide access to thousands more fast chargers for Nissan EV drivers, adding confidence and convenience when planning long-distance journeys," Jérémie Papin, Nissan Americas chairperson, said in July.
Nissan told CNET it will announce more details on NACS compatibility later.
The company's current EVs, including the Kia EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Genesis GV60, will be offered adapters to use the Tesla Supercharger and will be available via dealers from 2025. According to McDonald, only Kia has specified that adapters will be made available through dealers.
Moving into the more luxurious end of the car spectrum: BMW said in October it has reached an agreement with Tesla to use its charging technology in BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce EVs from early 2025. EVs produced from 2025 will have NACS ports built in.
"With six fully electric BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce models now available in the US market, and more to come, it is our top priority to ensure that our drivers have easy access to reliable, fast charging," Sebastian Mackensen, BMW North America CEO, said on Oct. 17.
You'll be able to find and access Tesla Superchargers on your vehicle display and make payments to use them through your BMW, Mini or Rolls-Royce app.
BMW told CNET it's too early to provide details on adapter costs or dates of delivery but said it is working on an adapter solution.
Jaguar's next-generation EVs will launch in 2025 with the Tesla connector onboard. For drivers of the I-Pace, Jaguar will supply adapters from Tesla for vehicles and home chargers once they're available.
"[Jaguar Land Rover] is dedicated to helping our clients make the switch to electric vehicles and to our commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2039," Mark Camilleri, Jaguar director of electrification services, said in September. "Our clients want access to fast, reliable and convenient chargers. Tesla has created a charging network across the globe that delivers this."
Mercedes-Benz will offer an adapter in summer 2024 for EVs to charge via the Tesla network. NACS charging ports will then be adopted as a standard feature in all new Mercedes-Benz vehicles in North America from 2025.
"To accelerate the shift to electric vehicles, we are dedicated to elevating the entire EV experience for our customers -- including fast, convenient and reliable charging solutions wherever their Mercedes-Benz takes them," Ola Källenius, Mercedes-Benz Group chair of management, said in July.
New Rivian vehicles in 2025 will have Tesla charging ports as standard in R1T and R1S and will then offer CCS adapters instead.
Polestar's electric cars will get a Tesla adapter in mid-2024, with their new cars to have integrated Tesla charging from 2025. Polestar told CNET that details on the cost of an adapter are not yet finalized, and that the timing will hinge on Tesla.
"We salute the pioneering work Tesla has done to speed up the adoption and increase the popularity of electric vehicles, and it's great to see the Supercharger network being made available in this way," Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath said in June. "This move will greatly increase the rate of EV adoption in a key automotive region."
Lucid vehicles built with CCS will be able to use an adapter from 2025 to access 12,000 chargers in the Tesla network.
"Adopting NACS is an important next step to providing our customers with expanded access to reliable and convenient charging solutions for their Lucid vehicles," said Rawlinson. "We believe that a unified charging standard, backed by the nationwide rollout of future-ready higher-voltage charging stations, will be a critical step in empowering American consumers to adopt electric vehicles."
Which EVs haven't reached an agreement with Tesla?
Volkswagen, which also owns the Porsche, Bentley, Audi, Bugatti and Lamborghini brands, has yet to announce plans and didn't respond to a request for comment.
According to McDonald: "One of the primary reasons that the automakers are adopting NACS and gaining access to the Tesla Superchargers is because of the poor uptime and reliability of chargers at the Electrify America Charging network, which was formed out of the Volkswagen 'dieselgate' settlement. As such, it's a bit embarrassing for Volkswagen to adopt the NACS connector."
Stellantis, which owns Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Maserati and Ram, didn't respond to a request for comment.
Mazda has yet to make an announcement, but is considering the switch.
Mitsubishi, part of the Nissan company, wouldn't confirm either way.