Ford is offering EV owners free Tesla Supercharger adapters through July

Starting today, people who own a Ford electric car can reserve an adapter that will allow them to charge via Tesla’s superior Supercharger network.

The company is the first to distribute adapters to customers, after announcing plans last year to use Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector for its electric vehicles. Other automakers soon followed Ford’s lead, leading to a massive shift toward Tesla’s standardized version of its proprietary charging system.

The adapter, which is manufactured by Tesla and allows EVs equipped with CCS 1 (Combined Charging System) connections to use Tesla’s Superchargers, typically retails for $230. But Ford is offering the first adapter for free to its EV customers – at least for a while.

The adapter typically costs $230

“This will more than double our access to fast charging within the U.S. and Canada with the addition of more than 15,000 chargers with the Tesla Supercharger network,” Ken Williams, director of charging and energy services at Ford, told reporters.

Ford said the adapters will be free starting today for a period until July 1. After that, customers must pay $230, plus taxes and shipping, to purchase the adapter. Customers can reserve an adapter via their FordPass smartphone app.

To be honest, not every customer receives an adapter immediately. Ford is depending on Tesla to make enough adapters to meet demand – and the company expects supply will be limited in the early stages.

“Supply will be limited as we move forward,” Williams said. “We believe that in the early stages of the launch, demand will exceed supply, but we will try to manage that demand on a first-come, first-served basis.”

For years, Tesla Superchargers were exclusive to Tesla owners. In fact, that was one of Tesla’s key selling points: consistent, exclusive and plentiful electric vehicle charging. But eventually the company began offering access to non-Tesla EVs, first in Europe and then in the U.S., after the Biden administration said this would be a condition for getting some of the $7.5 billion for the tapping into EV charging in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he never intended the Supercharger network to be a “walled garden.”

“Supply will be limited as we move forward.”

Tesla’s Supercharger network is widely recognized as superior to many of the third-party EV charging stations, most of which feature CCS plugs and the lesser-used CHAdeMO charging standard. The company says it has 55,000 Superchargers worldwide, including 15,000 in the US.

Ford said its customers will have access to the “vast majority” of Tesla’s network using the adapter, Williams said. Older V2 Superchargers, as well as some V3 boxes, will not be available to Ford owners.

For safety reasons, adapters are limited in the amount of voltage they can handle and tend to charge more slowly than a direct connection. Ford said its electric vehicles can receive “their maximum charge” when using Tesla Superchargers, but would not comment on how the charging rate compares to a direct connection.

The adapters are intended solely as a short-term solution to the problem of EV charging availability and reliability. Non-Tesla EV owners have reported issues with public chargers, including buggy software, broken chargers and unavailable locations. By comparison, Tesla has one of the highest operating numbers in the industry.

Ultimately, Ford and other automakers have said they will produce EVs with factory-installed Tesla NACS ports, eliminating the need for adapters. These vehicles are not expected to appear until 2025.

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