On February 28, Tesla announced on its official charging account on Twitter that it had equipped select Superchargers with CCS (Combined Charging System) charging adapters, which are compatible with other electric vehicle (EV) brands. While Tesla did not disclose the exact number of chargers that have been opened to other brands, several locations in California and Buffalo, N.Y. (where the Superchargers are produced) are shown as available in the Tesla app.
To use these Superchargers, non-Tesla EV owners will need to download the Tesla app and select the CCS adapter. Through the app, they can monitor the charging rate, total charge given, and total cost of charging in real-time. However, it is important to note that not all Tesla Superchargers have been equipped with CCS adapters, and the program is still in the pilot phase with limited access.
This move by Tesla to open up its Supercharger network to other brands marks a significant shift in the EV market, as it allows non-Tesla EV owners to access one of the most extensive and fastest charging networks available. With the Superchargers' fast charging speeds of up to 250 kW, non-Tesla EV owners will be able to add hundreds of miles of range in just a few minutes of charging, making long-distance travel in EVs more feasible and convenient.
That being said, they have only announced plans to retrofit and build new sites for a total of 3,500 chargers with the "Magic Dock" CCS adapter by the end of 2024, and not the entirety of the more than 17,000 superchargers in North America.
Non-Tesla EV owners who wish to use the Tesla Supercharger network can do so, but they will be charged a higher price per charge compared to Tesla owners. As an alternative, they can opt to sign up for a membership through the Tesla app. The monthly fee for the membership is $12.99, but it grants them access to the same lowest price per kWh offered to Tesla owners (who don't have to pay the monthly subscription).
It remains to be seen how this change will affect the nearly perfect rating that Tesla has regarding the Supercharger Network user experience. As other public fast charging networks have been plagued with issues such as broken or inoperable chargers and bandwidth problems, according to user complaints, Tesla continually ranks at the top with its seamless charging process. A 2022 survey by Plug In America revealed that the most commonly reported issue by EV owners was broken or non-working chargers. In contrast, the Tesla Supercharger network scored "significantly better than its competitors on every metric."
However, some experts have raised concerns that opening up the Supercharger network to other EV brands could negatively impact its reputation for reliable and fast charging. Guidehouse Insights analyst Sam Abuelsamid has stated that "there is a strong likelihood that if they open the Supercharger network to other vehicles, their current excellent reliability rate will decline significantly," as quoted by Reuters.
By adding CCS compatibility to its proprietary hardware and software, Tesla could potentially encounter new technical issues and challenges. Nonetheless, Tesla's decision to open up its Supercharger network to other brands shows a commitment to advancing the growth of the EV market and providing a more accessible charging infrastructure for all EV owners.
Earlier this week, the Biden-Harris Administration unveiled its most recent plans designed to establish reliable, user-friendly electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, with the ultimate goal of electrifying the iconic American road trip.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, proposed by President Biden, includes significant investments of $7.5 billion towards EV charging infrastructure, $10 billion towards clean transportation, and over $7 billion towards EV battery components, critical minerals, and materials. These flagship initiatives complement the Inflation Reduction Act's pivotal backing for advanced batteries and newly enhanced tax credits that encourage the purchase of EVs and the further buildout charging infrastructure. Additionally, dozens of other federal initiatives have been created to promote domestic manufacturing and construct a nationwide network of EV charging.
Growing the network of electric vehicle chargers along American highways and in local communities is a necessary step to meet the goal of having EVs make up 50% of all new car sales by 2030. Additionally, this proposal by the Administration will advance a strategy for further development of the domestic electric vehicle and EV charging industries, while simultaneously creating well-paying employment opportunities in manufacturing and installation, all of which contribute to the United States achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 with limited reliance on foreign entities.
After meeting with Tesla CEO Elon Musk last month, the Administration announced that they have reached an agreement with the company to make a portion of it's Supercharger Network available to non-Tesla vehicles in exchange for a cut of the total funding available.
"We do understand that Tesla is looking to tweak their system to be more open access. So, if they do reach that point and meet those eligibility requirements, they certainly will be eligible for funding," Stuart Anderson, head of Iowa's transportation development division, told Reuters.
As of the end of last year, there were a total of 11,479 non-Tesla DC Fast chargers installed across the country and 17,248 Tesla Superchargers. However, not all Tesla's network will be available to every electric vehicle.
The deal between Tesla and the Administration resulted in Tesla agreeing to open up 3,500 new or existing superchargers to non-Tesla customers and double the total count of Supercharger stalls by the by the end of 2024.
The impact for non-Tesla vehicles will likely be minimal. According to Executive Analyst Karl Brauer at iSeeCars, "It’s worth noting that Tesla’s Supercharger network is both vast and advanced, with more Level 3 fast chargers than all other EV charging networks, including Electrify America and ChargePoint, combined. If Tesla opened its entire network up to non-Tesla vehicles it would immediately and substantially improve the EV infrastructure. Tesla could more than double the number of nationwide fast chargers available to electric vehicle drivers if the entire network was opened up. But Tesla has only committed to 3,500 Level 3 chargers becoming available by the end of 2024, or about 20 percent of its fast-charging network. Of course every little bit counts when trying to solve the EV infrastructure problem… but it’s disappointing to see this little bit coming from the nation’s largest fast charger network.”
The likely reason that Tesla decided not to open the entire Supercharger Network, at least initially, is the expected effect to existing and future Tesla owners. At times, the existing supercharger network already sees heavy usage with demand for charging exceeding the available stalls.
Opening the Supercharger Network to all electric vehicles from any manufacturer would also eliminate one of the biggest advantages Tesla has over its competitors as the reliability of non-Tesla fast charging networks can be finicky and frustrating and Tesla's charging experience is smooth and usually flawless. Many people point this out as a reason to buy Tesla vehicles over others.
Another potential reason behind the decision is potentially the cost and time associated with retrofitting the Magic Dock CCS adapter to every single Supercharger station could be more than the company wants to take on at the moment. Who knows?
What we do know, is that Tesla has a strong incentive to make changes if they want to access a part of that $7.5 Billion in funding. The exact amount of funding that Tesla will receive from the program was not disclosed by the company or by the White House; however, it is likely substantial.
What do you think? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!
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Tesla might be close to opening up access of the North American Supercharger Network to non-Tesla vehicles.
With the launch of their non-Tesla Supercharger Pilot program in Europe, Tesla also added a filter to it’s ‘Find Us’ webpage map to display superchargers that were open to non-Tesla Vehicles. Earlier this month, Tesla also added the same filter to the US map… however only one supercharger was displayed, the one in Hawthorne, CA, which is conveniently located close to their design studio.
In addition to adding the filter to the map on the website, Tesla also added the Hawthorne location as an option under the ‘charge your non-tesla’ menu in the mobile app. Selecting the stall revealed a rendering of a supercharger with Tesla’s Magic Dock. The ‘Magic Dock’ is a special CCS adapter that will be built into the existing Supercharger equipment and will unlock (but lock to the charging cable) for use with non-Tesla vehicles.
At this time, both the filter and the image have been removed from the website and the mobile app, but thanks to twitter users Hayden Sawyer (@haydensawyer14) and Branden Flasch (@brandenflash) we have the images saved.
So while we can’t see them now, it does appear that these accidental reveals indicated that Tesla is getting closer to opening up the Supercharger network here in North America and it’s likely that they first location will be the Hawthorne, CA site.
Unfortunately, like many things regarding Tesla’s future plans, we don’t have further details. However, the change to allow non-Tesla vehicles to use the Supercharger Network is likely to start this year and it will shake up the EV charging experience for owners of CCS equipped vehicles.
With only one manufacturer (Aptera) currently planning to adopt Tesla’s NACS plug, it will be important for CCS equipped vehicles to be able to use the Supercharger units even if they haven’t invested in an adapter themselves… and it looks like the ‘Magic Dock’ might just be the answer to that problem.
In order to roll out this change, Tesla will need to retrofit the ‘Magic Dock’ to the existing Supercharger equipment, so it should be fairly easy to recognize when access to the network is imminent.
I, for one, am super excited about this. I look forward to seeing the charging experience for CCS equipped vehicles improve. And, one of the best ways to do that is giving them access to Tesla’s network because it is one of the most reliable charging networks here in North America.