Elon Musk says Tesla Superchargers will work with other cars soon — and it's a big deal

Tesla Supercharger
(Image credit: Kuang Da/Jiemian News/VCG via Getty Images)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that the company’s Supercharger network will be opened up to other EVs later this year. Which is going to be a huge win for people who don’t own a Tesla.

This follows reports that Tesla had promised to do just this in Norway, in exchange for some economic incentives from the government. Unfortunately, we don’t know a great many details about what’s going to be involved.

Tesla operates its own EV charging network out of necessity more than anything else. Back in 2008 when the first Tesla Roadsters hit the road, there was no market for electric cars and thus public chargers were non-existent. In order to survive, Tesla built its network from the ground up.

As Musk points out, there also were no connector standards either, which is why the company developed its own charging cable that could handle low and high voltage. Which is why Tesla cars (in the U.S. at least) don’t use the same CCS rapid chargers as most other electric vehicles.

It’s not clear how the expanded Supercharger availability will roll out. It’s easier to handle in Europe, because European Teslas use the same Type 2 CCS rapid charging ports as other automakers. 

You can thank the EU for that piece of legislation, and it means any old EV could plug into a Tesla Supercharger without issue. Just so long as they’re not one of the older EVs that still uses a CHAdeMO charging port, like the Nissan Leaf.

Musk confirmed that this expansion will eventually roll out to all countries, which may pose a problem in the U.S. Since American Teslas still use the proprietary Tesla charger means other cars can’t plug in so easily. While Tesla could retrofit its Superchargers with an additional CCS cable, that’s going to take time. 

Tesla does sell adapters that allow Tesla owners to plug a CCS cable into the proprietary port — though the automaker doesn’t seem to sell them in the U.S. However, offering an adapter that does the opposite, Tesla-to-CCS, could be a short-term solution to allowing non-Tesla cars to juice up at Superchargers.

That said, there may well be some limitations imposed on non-Tesla EVs. That could take the form of slower recharge speeds or higher prices. Until Tesla tells us what’s going on, we won’t know for sure.

Whatever happens, this is great news for countries that don’t have particularly robust third-party charging networks — the U.S. included. Having access to more EV charging stations, and fast EV charging stations at that, is a key step to take in the road to electrification.

Because range anxiety does still exist, and making sure people are aware there are plenty of places to recharge quickly is the perfect way to ease their fears and get them behind the wheel of an EV.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.