Using social media in his archetypal way, Musk responded to someone who we could describe as a Tesla ‘fanboy’ (@TesLatino) who raised a point about Tesla’s proprietary charging connector, stating: “We created our own connector, as there was no standard back then & Tesla was only maker of long range electric cars.
“It’s one fairly slim connector for both low & high power charging.
“That said, we’re making our Supercharger network open to other EVs later this year.”
Replying to another Twitter user, Musk confirmed that the move will take place globally – albeit over time.
It shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for Tesla to adapt its network outside of the US, either, as its new models no longer use the proprietary connector that featured on the earlier Model S cars. Type 2 and CCS are now the standard across Tesla’s range, with Superchargers being set up to offer these types of connection. Some US cars will need an adapter, however.
It’s also worth mentioning that whilst Elon Musk might be a bit trigger happy on Twitter and has a history of getting both himself and Tesla into a pickle with shotgun tweets, this one doesn’t seem to follow that trend. Tesla has long made it clear that it’s prepared to work with other carmakers to open up the Supercharger network and improve the viability of EVs.
For those new users, the network will provide a broadly reliable and high-power alternative to other public charging. Tesla Superchargers are consistently rated as the best network in the UK for speed, reliability and ease of use and the most recent chargers, which are slowly rolling out globally, can deliver up to 300kW – 50kW more than present. For the latest crop of EVs with 100kW+ ultra-fast charging, it’ll potentially be a game changer.
Whilst most EV owners will likely consider the ability to use the Supercharger network as a massive bonus, it’s a move that has already ruffled some feathers within the Tesla owners’ community. Simply reading the responses to Musk’s tweet shows a lot of resistance to the idea from those who’ve bought into Tesla in-part due to its superior charging network.
One states: “That’s a shame! That is the thanks you give all Tesla owners who believed in you and bought your product? The joy of seeing Tesla superchargers jammed with old Nissan leafs and Chevy Bolts?”
Another writes: “In this case I can sell my Tesla and get a German car (Audi, Porsche). The advantage of the charging network wouldn’t exist anymore.”
A lot of people – our Editor included – have bought Teslas because the public Supercharger network is so good. Removing that competitive advantage benefits other EV owners but also lumps existing Tesla owners in with everyone else. Of course, many owners will still be able to use the network for free, and others will retain their 400kWh allowance and low-cost ultra-fast charging thereafter, but it remains to be seen both what other brand EV owners will be charged, and how Tesla will administer taking payment – i.e. app or card payment.
We will, of course, bring you any updates as they happen.
Update 08.11.21: Telsa has started a trial in the Netherlands while allows owners of non-Tesla EVs to use ten of its Supercharger locations. Users will need to have the Tesla app in order to access the network, but once they’ve done that, they’re free to top up via arguably the best charging network out there.
Tesla owners will obviously still be able to use the network alongside other EVs, and the brand is monitoring the sites for congestion to ensure that they don’t get flooded by demand. This does, however, signal that Elon Musk’s brand will begin rolling out access throughout its 25,000-strong charger network, globally.
Update 11.02.22: In an under-the-radar move, Tesla has now expanded this trial into both France and Norway. Drivers of other EVs can use the latest version of the Tesla app to locate and use a limited number of locations in these two additional markets. The Tesla website confirms this, stating that Tesla owners can continue to use the Superchargers as usual and that the company is monitoring congestion and use as part of the ongoing pilot. There's still no word on whether or when the pilot will reach the UK.
Update 25.03.22: Tesla's UK supercharger network could be opened for all EVs before spring is out, according to Transport Minister Trudy Harrison. In an interview with electrifying.com, she said that the move could "come within weeks and months rather than years". Whether this happens remains to be seen as there has been no official word from Tesla, which knows its current and potential customers value the quality and exclusivity of its charging network.
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