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GM CEO Mary Barra Shares Details About Tesla NACS Deal

Tesla won the charging war with its rivals by convincing them to adopt the NACS standard. All the companies that entered an agreement with Tesla got similar conditions, and GM CEO Mary Barra revealed for the first time what those conditions were.
GM will have access to Tesla Superchargers 7 photos
Photo: GM | Edited
Tesla's Charging ConnectorTesla's Charging StationTesla SuperchargerMultiple Tesla Cars Charging at a Covered SuperchargerTesla CCS Combo 1J1772 plug on Tesla Gen 2 Wall Connector
Tesla is adding new partners to its NACS roster, while the industry bodies have already started the work needed to standardize Tesla's connector. Ford was the first major carmaker to pledge support for the NACS plug in May, and it was followed shortly by General Motors, Rivian, Volvo, and Polestar. Others, including Stellantis, Hyundai-Kia, and Volkswagen, are considering switching to NACS, although this doesn't guarantee they will. The move might be more difficult for the Koreans, whose EVs use an 800-volt architecture.

Regardless of the company, all announced similar deals and timelines. The official line says access to more than 12,000 Superchargers in Canada and the US starting early next year, and the NACS socket fitted standard on their electric vehicles from 2025. Other details were kept under wraps, but we're fairly certain there's more to these deals than has been revealed. Everyone, including Tesla, said that this was a great opportunity.

For the carmakers without a charging network on their own, the deal is self-explanatory. Access to the country's best charging network is a good reason to pop the champagne. Still, it's not that clear what's in it for Tesla. Many considered the deal would allow the EV maker to grow its Supercharger profits. When Tesla opened up its stations to non-Tesla EVs, it charged a higher electricity rate for the "guests." Non-Tesla owners also got the option to pay the same tariffs as Tesla owners if they opted for a subscription. This is basically the same, as it adds costs compared to the regular Supercharger tariffs.

To much anyone's surprise, GM CEO Mary Barra revealed in an on-stage interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival that GM customers would not be paying more than Tesla owners to charge at Supercharger stations. This rules out the extra profits Tesla would gain from ceding access to its Supercharger network. So far, it's as if more Tesla owners would charge at its stations, a move that is likely to annoy real Tesla owners. Unless Tesla significantly expands its Supercharger network, this should lead to more waiting time at the most in-demand stations.

Even better, Tesla would provide the necessary API so GM owners could see charging details in their mobile apps. Although important, this information deepens the mystery of what's Tesla gaining from the deal. This looks like a turn-key solution for rival carmakers to help them accelerate their EV programs. According to Mary Barra, the deal saved GM $400 million. Although this is GM's side of the story, I am confident the other carmakers joining the NACS crowd got similar arrangements, so it will soon be open season for Supercharging.

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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