By the end of next year, you'll be able to charge your Chevy Bolt at a Supercharger station.
As part of a $7.5-billion federal program to expand EV adoption and reduce carbon emissions, EV giant Tesla will be opening part of its charging network to rival electric vehicles in the United States. This was confirmed by the official Tesla Charging account on Twitter and in a longer statement by the White House, and while it's good news for owners of EVs that aren't Teslas, it does mean that Tesla owners themselves could face greater congestion when visiting one of the Supercharger stations.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Tesla was under pressure from the Department of Transportation to support the industry standard connector with its Superchargers if it wanted access to billions in government subsidies, and this is now set to happen.
The plan is for 3,500 new and existing Superchargers situated along highway corridors to open to non-Tesla customers by late next year, along with 4,000 slower chargers based at restaurants, hotels, and the like. "EV drivers will be able to access these stations using the Tesla app or its website," said the White House.
President Biden also confirmed that "Elon Musk will open a big part of Tesla's network up to all [EV] drivers," further describing this as a "big deal." Musk replied to Biden on Twitter to say that "Tesla is happy to support other EVs via our Supercharger network."
According to a White House official, Tesla will be eligible for a subsidy if its chargers conformed to the CCS charging standard. Currently, Tesla's 17,711 Superchargers make up around 60% of all the fast chargers in the USA.
With Tesla's help, the Biden Administration will be in a much better position to expand the charging network in the USA to half a million chargers by 2030, significantly more than the 130,000 chargers currently in use. That's all good and well, but only if all those chargers are reliably maintained, something that is sorely lacking based on recent research that found one in five charging attempts to fail.
While opening its network will enable access to additional funding and revenue for Tesla - previous research indicates that opening up the Supercharger network could rake in over $25 billion in annual revenue for Tesla - the impact on its customers and the network's reliability remains to be seen. "There is a strong likelihood that if they open the Supercharger network to other vehicles, their current excellent reliability rate will decline significantly," Sam Abuelsamid, Guidehouse Insights analyst, told Reuters.
Demand for Tesla vehicles, especially the Model 3 and Model Y, continues to soar. The influx of new Teslas on the road, together with other EVs being able to tap into the Supercharger network, could negatively impact the Supercharger experience for existing Tesla customers. Hopefully, that's not the case.
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