Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk met with Senior White House officials John Podesta and Mitch Landrieu to discuss the potential of expanding the automaker’s industry-leading charging network to include non-Tesla electric vehicles. The White House finally admitted they couldn’t push sustainability forward at the rate they’d like without Tesla and Musk.
Since the Biden Administration took over the White House, they have been slow to recognize the progress that both Tesla and Musk have contributed to the EV industry. Love him or hate him, Musk is a pioneer when it comes to passenger transportation. If it was not for him and Tesla, it is more than likely that EVs would not be as popular or relevant as they are today.
The details of the White House meeting between Musk, Podesta, and Landrieu remained under wraps until The Washington Post spoke to two people with knowledge of it. The sources explained that Tesla was open to potentially working with the Biden Administration on relinquishing exclusive access to its charging network and instead expanding it to include other EV manufacturers, whether they are legacy companies or startups.
Even still, Tesla did not completely commit to the idea. As I discussed yesterday, the Tesla Supercharger Network is one of the biggest (and, in my opinion, the biggest) advantages the company has. Everyone already knows that Tesla has a wide lineup of vehicles, it now has a commercial truck with the Semi, and it also is working toward launching the Cybertruck, its first pickup.
The 43,000+ Superchargers in the world, with many of them in the United States, offer reliability, consistency, and an excellent footprint that sprawls from high-traffic highways to even rural America. Many are situated near convenience stores, hotels, and other sources of entertainment.
But while Tesla has been building out its expansive network of charging piles, increasing manufacturing capacity, and disrupting the entire automotive sector, it has not won the recognition of the Commander in Chief. Instead, Biden has focused on other companies, like General Motors, and we all know the infamous “You did it, Mary” quote. Nothing against GM, they are making strides in their own right, but it is just plain unfair not to give Tesla and Musk the recognition they so much deserve.
The White House has put billions in government funding aside to help spur the use of sustainability. EVs are one of the biggest contributors to this effort, as most people will end up in a vehicle of some kind throughout their day. However, the White House has not loved mentioning Musk or Tesla by name specifically, and Musk has noticed. So have his biggest supporters.
But the Biden White House is reaching a breaking point. With Tesla contributing so much to the EV infrastructure and its goals of establishing 500,000 new EV charging stations in the U.S. market, it is time to swallow the pride that the administration has shown and just ask Tesla if they’d consider it. It finally happened, and the ball now lies in Tesla’s court.
Numerous things have happened that point in the direction of Tesla potentially opening the Supercharger Network to competitors. First, Tesla has been testing the idea through a Pilot Program in Europe. It is open in fifteen countries, the most recent being Italy, which Tesla added in November. It also recently expanded to Australia.
Next, the White House said last year that Tesla would “begin production of new Supercharger equipment that will enable non-Tesla EV drivers in North America to use Tesla Superchargers.”
Finally, Tesla leaked details on what it calls “the Magic Dock” earlier this year in its smartphone app. This showed a potential CCS-compatible connector being added to Supercharger piles, enabling other EVs to charge.
It is a big decision because there is a slice of $7.5 billion at stake here, which Tesla could utilize for its own charging capabilities. To qualify for it, however, the company has to enable other EVs to charge at its Superchargers.
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