By Shivansh Tiwary and David Shepardson
(Reuters) -Ford Motor Co shares jumped by more than 7% on Friday after the No. 2 U.S. automaker announced a deal allowing its electric-vehicle owners to access rival Tesla Inc’s charging stations in North America.
Tesla’s Superchargers could become the standard for EV charging in the United States, Ford CEO Jim Farley told CNBC, but added: “With adapters and software, we really don’t have to make a choice right now what the standard is, but I think it’s going to play out in the free market.”
Ford shares were up 7.6% at $12.25 in afternoon trade, while Tesla shares rose 7.5% to $197.95.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg praised the Ford-Tesla deal, but told CNBC that the Biden administration would not dictate an EV charging standard. “Tesla has built an extraordinary network … For them to be part of this effort I think is terrific news.”
Access to charging stations is considered one of the main hurdles so far to broader acceptance of electric vehicles, analysts have said.
Farley added that General Motors Co and other automakers are going to “have a big choice to make” in selecting between Tesla’s EV chargers and the Combined Charging System (CCS).
CCS is a competing charging-plug standard for DC fast-charging.
GM said open charging networks and standards are the best way forward to enable EV adoption across the industry, and it has worked with other automakers to develop an open connector standard in the CCS, which is a “a truly universal solution” available now for fast charging.
“We believe the move will ultimately increase BEV (Battery Electric Vehicles) penetration in North America, and in a rising-tide-lifts-all-boats rationale, increase Tesla sales,” RBC Capital Markets analysts said in a note.
Since 2012, Tesla has developed and deployed its own high-speed vehicle charger, called Supercharger, which can add up to 322 miles (518 km) of range in just 15 minutes.
Farley said Ford had about 10,000 fast chargers and that the agreement with Tesla will double that.
(Reporting by Shivansh Tiwary in Bengaluru and David Shepardson in Washington; Additional reporting by Reshma George; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Matthew Lewis and Devika Syamnath)