Why Ford Is Right To Supply NACS Adapters For Free

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Ford CEO Jim Farley announced today that the company is not only going to start supplying adapters for existing Ford CCS vehicles to charge at Tesla’s Superchargers, but that eligible Mach-E and F-150 Lightning owners will soon be able to reserve a complimentary adapter.

Some Background

For those unfamiliar, Ford was the first major automaker to announce that they’d be switching from the CCS1 to Tesla’s NACS connector. Along with switching plugs for future vehicles, Ford had also struck a deal with Tesla to get access to the Supercharger network in the United States. This means that everyone with a Ford CCS1 EV (with the possible exception of the Focus Electric) would now get access to the largest and most reliable charging network.

GM followed a few days later, and through the rest of 2023, nearly every other EV manufacturer selling in the United States did too. So, the NACS standard has become a true industry standard, supplanting CCS1 and CHAdeMO. Those other connectors are likely to still exist on charging stations for a while, but many new stations from all charging providers will eventually be NACS only. CHAdeMO cars are going to see dwindling options faster in the coming years as many of those plugs are simply replaced with a NACS cable.

But, it’s important to keep in mind that other automakers are not going to offer cars with a NACS connector until the 2025 model year. So, the question of what to do with all of the existing CCS cars is an important one.

The lazy approach would have been to simply leave CCS EV owners high and dry. This would have meant bad things for existing owners, of course, but automakers are in the business of selling new cars, right? But, stabbing a bunch of existing customers in the back would be bad in everything but the shortest of short runs. So, they needed to do something to help customers out.

Why A Free Adapter Matters

We haven’t received full details from anybody, but it’s possible that not everyone is going to do a free adapter like Ford is. Some manufacturers might make vehicle owners buy one, while others might give them a discount, only make them pay shipping, or some other arrangement between free and full price.

While I’m certainly grateful that automakers didn’t leave CCS owners high and dry in the switch to NACS, I’m also of the opinion that providing a free adapter is just compensation. When they sold us a CCS EV, it was with the understanding that the vehicle would be able to use a growing CCS network in the United States. But, when they announced a switch to NACS, they pretty much instantly cut the number of future CCS ports that would be installed. This, in turn, means that the value of a CCS car without an adapter is now going to be lower in the future.

Not only does a CCS adapter set that situation right, but providing it for free compensates CCS vehicle owners for the inconvenience of needing to use an adapter in the coming years. Finally, it also makes it more likely that they’ll want to leave the adapter in the vehicle when they trade it in or sell it, which will help keep the used EV market stable.

I hope that other manufacturers follow suit and don’t make their customers pay for their past decisions.

Featured image by Ford.


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