Rivian, the burgeoning manufacturer of electric trucks, SUVs, and delivery vans, has announced plans to integrate into Tesla’s comprehensive charging network starting next year.
This move places Rivian on a similar trajectory to automobile giants General Motors and Ford, who have also decided to make use of Tesla’s charging infrastructure. These commitments from major automakers are rapidly establishing Tesla’s charging connector as the industry standard.
For Rivian’s existing line of vehicles, an adapter will be necessary for compatibility with Tesla’s chargers. However, the company has disclosed that all vehicles produced from 2025 onwards will be equipped with a Tesla charging port as a standard feature.
This development marks a significant moment in the ongoing evolution of the auto industry, as more and more companies are contemplating the transition to Tesla’s proprietary charging connector, referred to as the North American Charging Standard. Currently, most automakers, except Tesla, employ a CCS connector, a design developed in collaboration with the Society of Automotive Engineers.
Tesla’s Superchargers are highly sought after by other manufacturers due to the company’s extensive network of direct current fast-charging plugs throughout the U.S. The prime locations of these stations along key freeway travel routes further enhance their attractiveness.
Other automakers are also seriously considering this transition. Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, has no fully electric vehicles currently available in the U.S. However, it does sell three plug-in gas-electric hybrid models capable of limited travel on battery power alone. The company’s U.S. teams are actively studying the potential switch to Tesla’s connector. According to Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, a decision is expected in a matter of weeks.
Rivian may be a relatively small entity in the U.S. auto market, with just under 30,000 vehicles sold from 2021 until the first quarter of this year, but it is widely recognized as a significant competitor to Tesla. Rivian’s decision to join Tesla’s network will give its customers access to over 12,000 Tesla Supercharger plugs.
In the U.S., Tesla’s network comprises 1,797 Supercharger stations with over 19,000 plugs, as per the Department of Energy. These stations, equipped with direct current fast-chargers, can charge electric vehicles relatively quickly, making them ideal for traveling.
In contrast, ChargePoint, which operates the largest charging network in the U.S., with more than 32,000 stations and 55,000 plugs, primarily features Level 2 chargers that can take up to eight hours for a full battery charge.
The Energy Department reports approximately 54,000 public charging stations nationwide with over 136,000 plugs. While most of these are slower Level 2 chargers, the distribution of DC fast chargers is expanding.
Industry analysts are observing a mounting push towards making Tesla’s connector the standard in the U.S., though it’s likely that vehicles will need to support both connectors for a period. GM and Ford have clarified that they won’t be paying Tesla for access to the network.
Instead, owners will pay Tesla directly for charging, similar to other charging systems. Rivian, in addition to joining Tesla’s network, plans to continue developing its own charging system, which will also feature Tesla’s connector.
Tesla’s shares saw a rise of 5.3% on Tuesday following Rivian’s announcement. The company’s stock has surged about 40% since Ford first declared it would join the charging network on May 25.