Ford, General Motors, Rivian, and Volvo have all struck a deal with Tesla to use its vast Supercharger network of DC fast chargers across the United States and Canada starting next year, which will lead to the alleviation of the biggest pain points for EV consumers: availability and reliability of public charging.

According to J.D. Power’s E-Vision Intelligence Report from June 2023, Tesla’s Supercharger network is simply the largest and most reliable fast charging network in the United States, with almost 19,500 ports available countrywide, followed by EVgo, which currently has around 2,250 fast charging ports in the country.

Furthermore, according to Tesla, its Supercharger network has constantly seen almost-perfect uptime stats in the last three years, which is far better than any competitor. J.D. Power reports that in the first quarter of 2023, 21.6 percent of EV drivers visiting non-Tesla public charging stations were unable to charge their vehicles, while only 3.9 percent of Tesla drivers using the Supercharger network experienced the same thing.

Overall public charging customer satisfaction is also significantly higher among Tesla owners compared to other vehicle manufacturers, with the Austin-based marque scoring 734 points (on a 1,000-point scale), followed by General Motors with 586 points, Ford with 544 points, and Rivian with 542 points.

With this being said, the future of the CCS connector, as well as the massive $7.5 billion in funding introduced by the government is in question now. After GM’s announcement that it would join Ford on the Tesla NACS connector wagon, with new vehicles scheduled to get the different port from 2025, the White House said that EV charging stations using the NACS standard would be eligible for federal subsidies as long as they include a CCS connector as well.

But after Ford and GM came Rivian and Volvo with identical deals with Tesla, and some reports are saying that Stellantis is considering adopting the NACS plug as well.

Volkswagen, Porsche, Toyota, Hyundai, and BMW are still sticking with CCS (at least for the time being), so maybe having public charging stations with both NACS and CCS wouldn’t be such a bad idea, but J.D. Power says that programming and equipping vehicles to support both protocols (via adapters where needed) is not as simple as it sounds.

What’s more, possible interoperability and compatibility issues could spur consumer confusion and frustration in the short term, the data analytics company suggests.

With this being said, however, it will be a matter of education and information, which is nothing new in the world of modern EVs. This is where automakers will need to put on their big-boy hats and pull all the stops to make sure that potential EV customers understand what they’re getting into and know what to expect in the following years.

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