Elon Musk told President Biden that Tesla is opening its Supercharger network, but the plan has been unclear since Tesla opened its charge connector.
Over the last year, Tesla has been working to open its Supercharger network to non-Tesla electric vehicles.
In Europe, Tesla has already opened hundreds of stations in most countries it operates in. The automaker indicated that it planned to do the same by the end of the year in North America, but it has yet to do it.
At first, we thought it was due to the added complexity of not having CCS connectors on its Superchargers as it does in Europe, but Tesla recently made the situation murkier by proposing its own connector as a new charging standard in North America.
It seemed like Tesla was going to offer CCS to Tesla adapters to non-Tesla EV owners or incorporate CCS adapters at its Supercharger stations.
The open-sourcing of its connector has now cast some doubts on those plans.
This weekend, President Biden tweeted about the US government’s plan to help build 500,000 charging stations:
We’re building 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the country. The great American road trip will be fully electrified.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded by saying “or you can just buy a Tesla”:
Musk seems to imply that Tesla’s Supercharger network already enables “the great American road trip,” which is a fair point considering that there are not many regions of the United States you can’t access with Tesla’s charging network.
Then the CEO added that Tesla still plans to “enable other EVs to use Tesla Superchargers”:
Worth mentioning that Tesla has open-sourced its charge connector and is enabling other EVs to use Tesla Superchargers
Musk confirms that opening the Supercharger network to other EVs is still in the plan, but it’s still unclear how it will happen.
As we previously reported, Biden’s federal government is now offering billions of dollars in incentives for companies to build charging stations to achieve the 500,000 stations goal that he mentioned. In order to be eligible, companies need to deploy stations available to EV models from more than one automaker – which is why Tesla needs to open up its network.
Top comment by rmeden
We don't know how difficult it is to add CCS1 to superchargers. We also don't know how difficult it would be to make a Tesla -> CCS1 adapter to purchase. I suspect both are viable plans. Tesla owners can now purchase a CCS1 adapter if they feel the need.
Even if the Tesla connector becomes the standard, it will take a while for existing auto makers to redesign, not to mention the already on the road EVs. The quickest solution (and most profitable for Tesla) would be to make the adapter. Many non-Tesla's would jump at the chance to use that network.
Based on Musk’s comment, it sounds like the open-sourcing of the connector and the plan to give access to the Supercharger network to other EVs are two separate things, which is my hope.
Some suggested that Tesla’s opening of its charge connector could replace the plan since Tesla would be technically “opening its Supercharger to non-Tesla EVs” as long as they use its connector, which is now the open-source North American Charging Standard.
And Tesla only needs a single automaker to take it up on the offer for its new Supercharger to get access to the new federal funding that President Biden is talking about in that tweet.
Right now, I still think Tesla plans to do both, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.
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