GM’s Mary Barra says decision to partner with Tesla on charging was customer-driven

As most of the EV media hailed the decision by Ford, GM and other automakers to hitch their charging wagons to the Tesla train, a few contrarians wondered, “What were they thinking?” Well, in a new interview, GM CEO Mary Barra explains just what she and her engineering team were thinking.

Speaking with NBC News President Rebecca Blumenstein at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Barra said that GM looked at the issue from a customer perspective (around 15:50 in the video). GM’s technical team found that “the durability, reliability and cost” of Tesla’s NACS were superior to those of CCS. The latter is “more cost-effective and better,” she said.

GM drivers will soon have access to Tesla Superchargers, in addition to the chargers belonging to various other networks that they can already use. “Starting next year, instead of having 13,000 chargers across this country available, we’ll have 25,000,” said Barra. “It was a decision that was not that hard to make, and we did it pretty fast.”

Ms. Blumenstein noted that GM was one of the first advertisers to “back off” from Twitter when Tesla’s controversial CEO took over the platform, and asked Barra if GM will return to advertising on Twitter. Barra noted that Twitter now has a new chief, and said there is “a conversation to be had.”

When Blumenstein asked Barra if she feels she can trust Elon Musk, the CEO’s only answer was a sort of half-smile and eye roll, which got a laugh from the audience. Barra reiterated that partnering with Tesla was in both companies’ best interests, and would be “better for the consumer.” GM’s team “worked very seamlessly with the team at Tesla.”

“Of course we’re going to compete” with Tesla, Barra said, adding that “in many industries, you compete and you partner.” Noting that GM has also partnered with Honda and Ford, she added that the auto industry would benefit from more partnerships.

Source: NBC News

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