Just recently, Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla’s Supercharger Network would be opened to other electric vehicles later this year. More details about this upcoming initiative were shared in the second-quarter earnings call, including the process involved for non-Tesla EVs to access a Supercharger station, as well as the pricing for the service.
According to Elon Musk, owners of non-Tesla electric vehicles would have to download the Tesla App to access the Supercharger Network. Users would then have to indicate which stall they would be charging in, before plugging in their electric vehicles and initiating the charging session. Musk noted that this Tesla App-based system would likely work with any other manufacturer’s cars.
The CEO noted, however, that pricing for the Supercharger Network among non-Tesla EVs would be time-based, especially among vehicles that are not designed to charge as rapidly as Tesla’s vehicles. Peak and off-peak rates would be implemented as well.
“There will be time constraints. If the charge rate is super slow, then somebody will be charged more because the biggest constraint at the Supercharger is time, how occupied is the stall. And we’ll also be smarter with how we charge for electricity at the Supercharger. So rush hour charging will be more expensive than off-hours is charging because there are times when the Superchargers are empty and times when they’re jam-packed. And so it makes sense to have some time-based discrimination,” Musk said.
Opening the Supercharger Network in China and Europe would likely be simple enough, Musk noted, as EV charging connectors are pretty standardized in these regions. This is not the case in North America, where Tesla uses its own proprietary connector. As such, non-Tesla EVs in North America would have to use an adapter. Musk then noted that Tesla Supercharger adapters would be available for purchase, with some being offered in actual Supercharger Stations.
“In Europe and China and most parts of the world, it’s the same connector for everyone, so this is a fairly easy thing to do. We developed our own connector, which in my opinion is actually the best connector, it’s small and light and looks good and above standard. So we developed our own connector, which in my opinion actually the best connector. It’s small and light and looks good. So an adapter is needed to work for EVs in North America. But people could buy this adapter. And we anticipate having it available at the Superchargers as well if people don’t sort of steal them or something,” Musk said.
While numerous Tesla owners have expressed their reservations about the Supercharger Network being opened to other electric cars, Senior VP for Powertrain and Energy Engineering Andrew Baglino noted that the initiative would likely pave the way for an even more aggressive expansion of the rapid charging infrastructure. Musk agreed with this point, noting that Tesla has to grow the Supercharger Network more than ever before.
“Obviously, for the Supercharger Network to be useful to other car companies’ cars, we need to grow the network faster than we’re growing vehicle output, which is not easy. We’re growing vehicle output at a hell of a rate. So Superchargers need to grow faster than vehicle output. This is a lot of work for the Superchargers team, but it is only useful in the grand scheme of things. Just only useful to the public if we’re able to grow faster than Tesla vehicle output. So that is our goal,” Musk said.
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