Ford’s NACS Adapter Delivers Fast and Reliable Charging at Tesla Superchargers


Tesla’s Supercharging network, already the largest and most efficient, is set to become even more accessible with Ford and other automakers gaining access via new adapters. The Ford Fast Charging Adapter, available for free until June 30, allows Ford EVs to charge at Tesla Superchargers. However, it only works with V3 Superchargers and does not support level 2 charging. The adapter has been tested on a Ford F-150 Lightning, delivering a maximum of 173 kW and charging the battery from 27% to 47% in just 10 minutes. This move will greatly benefit Ford’s EV owners, who will now have access to 15,000 additional fast-charging stKind of amazing, honestly. However, there’s something funky going on that we’ve known about since Tesla started installing its Magic Dock connectors: its Supercharger cables are just too short. Now, non-Tesla vehicles might have to double-park charging stalls, and Tesla’s app seems just fine with that. Get Fully Charged Let’s back up a second to talk about Tesla’s Superchargers. Originally, the North American Charging Standard (NACS) was simply just known as the “Tesla charger.” Only Tesla’s vehicles came equipped with NACS for both home and DC Fast Charging. Other vehicles used the Combined Charging System (CCS) or the now-antiquated CHAdeMO standard. Tesla recently began the process to standardize NACS, which led to a sweeping industry-wide adoption of the charger port in just a few months. It’s actually insane to think about how fast the industry moved to a new standard. That typically takes years. And that charge was led by Ford. Because Tesla’s network was originally designed for Teslas, the automaker was able to maximize its cost savings by ensuring designs worked just well enough for its own vehicles. That included a short cable length that was designed to line up with Tesla’s charger ports, always located in a reflector housing on the driver’s side rear tail lamp. That’s now a problem for non-Tesla owners. For example, Ford’s F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E have the charger inlet positioned near the front wheel of the driver’s door. The Supercharger cable is too short to reach the front of the vehicle when it’s backed in, and when the car pulls in, the charge port is then located on the opposite side of the vehicle. This means that the only way for the vehicle to charge is to double-park and block another charging stall. Tesla’s website reads: [I]n some cases you might have to park over the line in order to charge comfortably. Avoid parking diagonally to reach the cable and try to obstruct as few charge posts as possible. Charge port locations vary by EV model, which requires cable sharing between adjacent stalls at many sites. It’s important to note that Tesla is working to resolve this problem with its new “v4” Superchargers. These chargers have longer cables positioned on the outside of the charging unit which allows the charger to swing to either side of the stall This makes it possible for non-Tesla EVs to easily plug in. However, as of yesterday, Tesla is still opening new Supercharging locations with its existing “v3” Superchargers in the U.S. Certain new locations in Europe appear to be receiving the v4 Superchargers in February. Tesla is also calling on manufacturers to consider standardizing the charge port location on future vehicles. To Tesla’s point, this could be useful in cutting down on costs and cord clutter at charging stations. Now, non-Tesla owners don’t necessarily need to take up multiple charging stalls. At some Supercharger locations, utilizing the end stall or one of Tesla’s “pull-through” style chargers could be a possibility, though not every location is built to accommodate that layout, so it won’t work everywhere. Meanwhile, things have been a bit of an issue since Ford began launching the Magic Dock. Ford F-150 Lightning owners have posted photos of themselves charging at Superchargers and we can immediately see the problem should a Supercharger get busy.

However, Tesla’s Supercharger cables are too short, causing issues for non-Tesla vehicles, which may have to double-park and block other charging stalls. Tesla is working to resolve this issue with its new “v4” Superchargers, which have longer cables that can swing to either side of the stall. However, as of now, Tesla is still opening new Supercharging locations with its existing “v3” Superchargers in the U.S. Ford F-150 Lightning owners have reported issues with charging at Superchargers, and Tesla’s ability to detect if a Supercharging stall is open has been hampered. Rivian and General Motors are also set to have access to the Supercharging network this month, which could lead to growing pains for Tesla owners.

Other automakers are also expected to gain access to Tesla’s network this year, making the Tesla plug the standard for DC fast charging in North America. However, this could lead to some issues, as non-Tesla EVs may attempt to charge at these stations using third-party adapters, which could result in some interesting experiments and potential compatibility issues. Overall, this move is a positive step towards increasing accessibility and convenience for EV owners.

Which other automakers are expected to gain access to Tesla’s Supercharging network this year?

As of March 1, 2024, several automakers have already gained access to Tesla’s Supercharger network, not just in 2024, but earlier this year in February.

General Motors (GM):They were expected to join shortly after Ford in February, but specific dates haven’t been confirmed yet. While no further announcements were made about additional automakers joining in 2024.

Several other automakers have agreements with Tesla: These include Honda, Rivian, Volvo, Polestar, Mercedes-Benz, and others.

These agreements involve adopting the North American Charging Standard (NACS). This means future models from these brands will have the compatible port for direct connection to Superchargers. Adapters are currently being used for non-NACS vehicles. This allows them to access Superchargers with an adapter until their newer models with NACS ports are released.

When will the Tesla slimmer North American Charging Standard (NACS) plug become standard equipment on most EVs?

The transition to the Tesla NACS plug as standard equipment on most EVs is already underway and expected to be completed in phases:

  • From 2024 onwards: Car manufacturers will start offering adapters for existing models that use different charging standards. These adapters will allow owners of non-NACS EVs to access charging stations using the NACS plug.
  • Starting in 2025: New EV models from most automakers are expected to come equipped with the NACS port built-in. This means they won’t need adapters and will be directly compatible with charging stations using the NACS standard.

There are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Not all manufacturers have confirmed a complete switch by 2025: Some, like Stellantis (Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, etc.), plan to adopt NACS for select models starting in 2026, while offering adapters for existing models in the meantime.
  • The complete transition may take longer than 2025: As older models without NACS ports remain on the road, it might take some time for the vast majority of EVs to use the NACS standard exclusively.

Will there be any additional costs for non-Tesla EV owners to use Tesla’s Supercharging network?

Yes, there can be additional costs for non-Tesla EV owners to use the Supercharger network compared to Tesla owners, although there are options to minimize these costs:

1. Higher Per kWh Rate:

Non-Tesla owners generally pay a higher per kWh rate compared to Tesla owners who benefit from the included Supercharging credits when purchasing a new Tesla. These rates vary by location and can be significantly higher than standard DC fast-charging stations from other providers.

2. Supercharging Membership (Optional):

A Supercharging Membership is available for non-Tesla owners. This membership reduces the per kWh rate to the same level as Tesla owners, potentially offering cost savings if you frequent Superchargers. However, there’s a monthly subscription fee associated with the membership.

3. Idle Fees:

Idle fees apply to all vehicles, including Teslas, if they remain parked at a Supercharger stall after reaching their desired charge level. This is implemented to discourage hogging stalls and ensure efficient network usage. These fees can add up if you’re not careful.

How will the increased access to Superchargers impact the resale value of non-Tesla EVs?

The increased access of non-Tesla EVs to the Supercharger network is a double-edged sword for resale value. While it offers greater convenience and range anxiety reduction, potentially boosting demand, it also diminishes Tesla’s unique selling proposition and could lead to congestion, impacting both Tesla and non-Tesla EVs. The long-term impact remains uncertain, depending on charging infrastructure development, NACS adoption, and overall market dynamics.