• Fri. May 24th, 2024

I hope Tesla continues to partner with its rivals


Jun 7, 2023
I hope Tesla continues to partner with its rivals


Tesla has done a lot for the automotive industry by bringing the heat to legacy automakers. It led the way on EVs, and the rest have been scrambling to catch up. Using direct sales and its own proprietary charging network gave Tesla an advantage in doing so. Now, Tesla has turned a page, and is actually partnering with rival Ford in a deal that will give Blue Oval customers access to its Supercharger network of public fast chargers. I hope this is just the first step toward Tesla more deeply or widely entangling itself with other automakers. It would benefit Tesla, its partners and EV customers at large.

The Tesla/Ford deal is exciting. It’s a win for Ford, as the public charging experience has mostly sucked for everyone but Tesla owners. Charging has been a pain point for other automakers, who can’t match Tesla’s Superchargers for their ubiquity and reliability. That changes for Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning drivers who will soon be able to juice up on this superior network, helping to remove that hurdle from EV adoption. Tesla wins because it just gained Ford drivers as charging customers, and doing so qualifies it for a piece of the Biden administration’s $7.5 billion charging infrastructure initiative. The move could help Tesla’s technology become the charging standard. Plus, it not only expands Tesla’s revenue stream, it’s also an admission by one of the biggest, most long-standing car companies admitting that Tesla offers something Ford can’t on its own. That’s quite the endorsement.

There are plenty of opportunities for Tesla to collaborate with other automakers that could be mutually beneficial. Many other brands could benefit from Tesla’s tech, especially when it comes to charging and powertrain. Of course, revenue is the biggest thing Tesla has to gain, but it could probably use some manufacturing expertise or access to tried-and-true parts and materials. While Tesla probably doesn’t want to loudly proclaim it could benefit from working with other car makers (who wants to admit they’ve got build quality issues, after all?), other collaborations could further improve Tesla’s image. Tesla could say, “Hey, BMW likes our [fill in the blank] so much, we’re going to help them out,” while reaping the benefits of being associated with the prestigious brand, and perhaps quietly getting some materials expertise on the side. Anything that could reduce costs and improve clout would be good for any Tesla collaboration.  

In addition to sharing what they already have, imagine what could come from Tesla and an established automaker co-developing some emerging technology. Maybe GM has the missing sauce for making Full-Self Driving live up to its name. Perhaps Tesla and Toyota could get the band back together to accelerate solid-state batteries. And if the Ford partnership was a pleasant surprise, imagine the waves a co-developed model would make. Let’s hear it for a Mazdaspeed Plaid wagon.

Sure, it’s wishful thinking, but if Tesla and Ford can put their differences aside for the betterment of business and the EV industry, surely Tesla can surprise us again. If you agree, sound off in the comments, and let us know what sort of partnerships you’d like to see from Tesla.

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