The Tesla Supercharger network is about to get even more useful for people who don't drive a Tesla electric car. To the point where it could help push significantly more drivers towards electric vehicles.
According to a just released fact sheet from The White House (opens in new tab) Tesla Superchargers will start allowing non-Teslas to plug in and recharge before the end of this year. The sheet mentions what EV charging companies are doing to expand charging infrastructure - Tesla included.
In the process, The White House revealed that Tesla will begin production on equipment that lets non-Tesla drivers use Superchargers by the end of 2022.
People who’ve been keeping track of Supercharger news will know that Tesla is already letting non-Teslas recharge at Supercharger stations across Europe. While still officially in a trial phase, the move has seen Supercharger access open up in countries like France, the U.K., Germany, Norway, the Netherlands and more.
Non-Tesla cars can drive into a bay, plug in, and confirm their charge via the Tesla app. Meanwhile, Tesla drivers can continue to plug in and start recharging without any additional action. And soon, it looks like EV drivers in the U.S. will be able to experience this for themselves.
This shouldn’t be a major surprise, since Elon Musk has been promising this would happen for some time. After being prompted to open Supercharger access to non-Teslas in Norway, so that the company could claim financial incentives from the government, Musk confirmed Supercharger exclusivity would be lifted all over the world.
The process likely began in Europe for simplicity’s sake, since Teslas and non-Tesla use the same type of charger — the CCS-2 Standard. North America has proven more difficult, since Tesla still utilizes a proprietary charger, rather than the CCS-1 standard featured on the vast majority of electric cars.
Back in May Elon Musk confirmed work had started ensuring compatibility between non-Teslas and American Superchargers. According to a tweet that meant adding “the rest of the industry’s connectors as an option to Superchargers in the U.S.” That likely meant retrofitting Superchargers with an additional cable, featuring a CCS plug, and removing any software blocks that would prevent non-Teslas from drawing power.
Now, according to The White House, this process will begin before the end of the year. And good thing, too, because the White House recently confirmed that federal funding would not be available for EV chargers that did not include a CCS plug. Provided it also sticks to other guidelines, like offering account-free payments, Tesla may be eligible for some of that money.
It’s a win/win for everyone involved. Tesla gets federal money to build Superchargers; Tesla drivers will be comforted by the fact even more Superchargers are coming; and non-Teslas will eventually get to plug into a charger at one of the 1,400-plus Supercharger locations across the United States.
Considering range and charging anxieties do get in the way of EV adoption, this could be the boost EVs need to help overtake gasoline-powered vehicles. Because as popular as Teslas are, they are still pretty expensive — with prices starting at $46,990m for a Tesla Model 3.
Meanwhile, there are cars, like the Chevy Bolt, which are available for under $30,000. Giving those cars access to the many 250kW Superchargers across the U.S. could be the key to encourage more drivers to buy an EV.
We don’t know exactly when the first Supercharger stations will allow non-Teslas to recharge, or how quick the rollout might be. But it’s happening relatively soon, and that’s the most important thing.
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