How Ford CEO Jim Farley Convinced Elon Musk To Open Up Tesla Charging

Back in May, Ford shocked the electric car world by being the first to announce that its future EVs would adopt Tesla’s North American Charging Standard plug and gain access to that charging network. At the time, Ford said that it worked out a deal with Tesla where its EVs would use those chargers with an adapter starting in 2024, and then switch to Tesla’s plug from the factory from 2025 onward. 

But it turns out Ford’s switch to the NACS plug wasn’t the easy slam dunk it seemed to be. 

In an exclusive interview with InsideEVs contributor Tom Moloughney, Ford CEO Jim Farley explained that at first, Tesla said no to Ford’s proposal. But after Farley spoke directly to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, that decision became a yes. 

After that, various other deals were worked out with numerous automakers, and soon enough the entire American auto market pivoted to a NACS-focused future. But it all started with Ford, and Farley is here to give the full story. 

Ford NACS Adapter Top

“I talked to [Ford’s chief electric vehicle, digital and design officer and Tesla veteran] Doug Field, and I said, ‘Do you think they would be open to it?’,” Farley said. “And so he called and they said, nah, it’s not very interesting to them.'” But then they examined the data around connectivity with most non-Tesla chargers and saw how uncompetitive they were.

“It became pretty clear, pretty quickly, that we could become pretty arrogant and keep our head in the sand, or we could really call them and say, ‘We really want to do this,'” Farley said.

Farley then “reached out to Elon personally” and appealed to Tesla’s mission, he said. “And he thought about it, and he said, yeah, we can probably make that work, Jim.”

He added, “It was a pretty big project. Both teams had to be committed to making it happen.”

Watch the video above for the rest of the story—one that changed the future of EV charging in America for good.