White House says Tesla chargers available for federal dollars — as long as they include CCS

A Combined Charging System (CCS) plug for electric vehicles. (AP)

The White House on Friday said electric vehicle charging stations using Tesla standard plugs would be eligible for billions of dollars in federal subsidies as long as they included the national CCS charging standard connection as well.

The statement follows Ford’s and GM’s announcements that they were adopting the Tesla model of charging, known as the North American Charging Standard (NACS), shaking up a charging industry that was seemingly drifting towards the rival CCS connection with the help of federal subsidies.

This is the first time the Biden administration has directly connected Tesla to its efforts to spend up to $7.5 billion to build new, high-speed chargers

on some 7,500 miles of the nation’s busiest highways.

Tesla’s network is more widespread and considered more reliable than the alternative combined charging system (CCS), which the government has tried to support with federal funds.

Tesla jumped 5% on Friday, and analysts said the Ford and GM news is a big win that could make Tesla Superchargers an industry standard in the United States. GM and Ford shares rose about 2% each.

“Earlier this year, we developed minimum standards to ensure publicly funded EV charging is accessible, reliable, and affordable for all drivers, and we required interoperability to promote competition. Those standards give flexibility for adding both CCS and NACS, as long as drivers can count on a minimum of CCS,” White House spokesperson Robyn Patterson said in statement to Reuters.

Patterson said the goal is for every car to be able to use every publicly funded charger. “More drivers having access to more high-quality charging – including Tesla Superchargers – is a step forward,” she said.

Earlier this year, the administration celebrated Tesla’s decision to open up its charging network to competitors but stopped short of discussing how the company would be involved in its charging efforts. The partnership among three of the biggest U.S. automakers ensures that more than 60% of the country’s EV market can access Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS).

Already the world’s most valuable automaker, the Elon Musk-led company has added more than $200 billion to its market value since announcing the charging tie-up with Ford on May 25.

Musk on Friday said in a tweet it would be “ideal” for Tesla chargers to only need CCS adapters to meet federal charging standards.

The decision from Ford and GM is sending ripples through the EV industry, raising questions about the fate of charging startups that are struggling. Shares in charging companies such as ChargePoint

Holdings, EVgo Inc and Blink Charging were down 10%-13% on Friday.