GM Follows Ford to Adopt Tesla EV Charging Connector, Join Supercharger Network

GM adds its weight to the argument that Tesla’s EV charging network provides the most reliable – and available – EV public-charging experience.

A Cadillac Lyriq EV at a Tesla Supercharger station. GM said that adopting Tesla’s EV charging connector and providing its customers with access to the Supercharger network is a move to accelerate wider acceptance of EVs. (GM)

Just a fortnight after Ford issued the surprising news that it will adopt the Tesla-designed “North American Charging Standard” (NACS) charging connector for its next-generation EVs – and had brokered a deal for its customers to access Tesla’s vaunted Supercharger network – direct rival GM on June 8 issued an almost identical announcement. GM said that starting in 2025, it will equip its new EVs to accept the NACS connector, while GM’s EV owners will have access to a current 12,000 Superchargers “beginning in early 2024.”

Size comparison of Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) charge connector and the SAE J1773 Combined Charging System (CCS) connector. (Tesla)

The news is another blow to the long-established SAE Standard J1772 combined charging system (CCS) connector. The CCS connector is widely used throughout the world for public DC fast-charging and Level 2 AC home chargers. But Tesla began to argue in late 2022 that its NACS connector is smaller and easier to handle and can handle high power without the need for bulky liquid-cooled cables. Tesla also pointed out that there are more EVs on the road equipped to use the NACS connector than the combined total of EVs fitted with the CCS connector.

With its announcement, GM appears to agree with Ford that joining the Tesla Supercharger network, and therefore adopting the NACS connector, is the correct move to support EV customers struggling with the erratic service available from America’s patchy public fast-charging system. GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra said in a company press release that the collaboration with Tesla is “an important next step in quickly expanding access to fast chargers for our customers. Not only will it help make the transition to electric vehicles more seamless for our customers, but it could help move the industry toward a single North American charging standard.”

GM said that NACS adapters will be available for owners of EVs with CCS connectors. There also will be adapters for vehicles with NACS charge ports to use chargers with CCS connectors, a critical detail as the current build-out of non-Supercharger public fast-charging stations employ CCS connectors. There is considerable federal investment behind much of the ongoing construction of fast-charging infrastructure and stipulations under the Inflation Reduction Act specify that chargers qualifying for subsidy must “support” CCS connections.

In GM’s release announcing the collaboration with Tesla, Rebecca Tinucci, Tesla Senior Director of Charging Infrastructure, added, “Our mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. Giving every EV owner access to ubiquitous and reliable charging is a cornerstone of that mission. We’re excited to work with other industry leaders like General Motors to provide access to the Tesla Supercharger network via the North American Charging Standard.”