Ford has started installing its Tesla Supercharger lookalike charging stations as the automaker insists on copying the design instead of the business model.
The Dearborn-based automaker has been more aggressively moving into the EV space lately with the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV and the upcoming F-150 pickup truck.
When it comes to the charging infrastructure to support these new electric vehicles, Ford has made announcements about partnering with Electrify America and Ionity, amongst other charging networks.
That has been the model adopted by virtually every other automaker except for Tesla, which has deployed its own fast-charging network called the Supercharger network.
Last year, we reported on Ford unveiling its own charging station, and it looked quite clearly inspired by the Tesla Supercharger.
Now it looks like the automaker is actually deploying those new charging stations at Ford dealerships.
However, the resemblance with the Tesla Supercharger stops at the pedestal because those are level 2 charging stations and not DC fast chargers.
Tesla executives even offered their opinion. Tesla Product Design Director Javier Verdura called Ford’s effort a “disingenuous unnecessarily large, poorly executed knock-off of our design”.
As we previously suggested when we first saw those charging stations, Ford should copy Tesla’s business model for the Supercharger network and not just the design for the stalls.
Tesla’s Supercharger network is widely recognized as the best DC fast-charging in the world, and that’s because Tesla built it around a good EV ownership experience and not as a profit center.
It focused on building them in locations that enable long-distance travel – often to somewhat remote locations. It built many stalls per location to avoid wait times, and it made them fast.
Those are all things that third-party networks, which all other automakers have been relying on, cannot. It is not a great business model to have many stalls sitting empty most of the time.
I wish more automakers would have the courage to invest heavily in their own charging networks.
I think the third-party networks, like EVgo and Electrify America, are slowly catching up, but the Tesla model has proven to be the most successful so far.
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