Drivers To Get More Charging Options As Tesla Prepares To Open Superchargers To All EVs

Jul 27, 2021

The hunt for fast chargers will soon be getting easier for non-Tesla electric vehicle drivers.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced Monday during his company’s second quarter earnings call that the EV automaker will open its Supercharger charging network to all nearly all EVs.

“We're currently thinking it's a real simple thing where you just download the Tesla app and you go to Supercharger. And you just indicate which stall you're in. You plug in your car, even if it's not Tesla. And then you just access the app and say, turn on this stall that I'm in for how much electricity. And this should basically work with almost any manufacturer's cars,” Musk said.

Although Tesla’s Superchargers use a propriety charging system, Musk said non-Tesla owners would be able to buy an adapter. “And we anticipate having it available at the Superchargers as well if people don't sort of steal them or something.”

While a rollout date wasn’t announced, Musk tweeted last week they would be opened other other EVs “later this year.”

Although Musk said "later this year," it's worth pointing out that some Tesla projects have historically fallen behind originally announced schedules. As an example, when the next generation Tesla Roadster was announced in 2017, Musk said it was coming in 2020. At the time of this story's publication the car had yet to enter production.

Musk implied most non-Tesla EV owners would pay a higher rate to charge at Tesla stations because most EVs charge at a slower rate than Teslas and he intends to set up the system to be based on the amount of time it takes a car to charge as opposed to the total kilowatts delivered.

“If the charge rate is super slow, then somebody will be charged more because the biggest constraint at the Supercharger is time, how occupied is the stall. And we'll also be smarter with how we charge for electricity at the Supercharger, so rush hour charging will be more expensive than what car is charging because there are times when the Superchargers are empty and times when they're jam packed. And so it makes sense to have some time-based discrimination.”

Tesla’s largest U.S. fast-charging competitor, Electrify America, previously used a per-minute charging system but switched to a per-kilowatt pricing model in Florida and many states following consumer complaints.

More affordable EVs, such as the Chevrolet Bolt or MINI Cooper SE, fast-charge at significantly slower speeds than Teslas or other more expensive EVs like the Audi E-Tron GT or Porsche Taycan.

But regardless, for non-Tesla EV drivers in Jacksonville and around the world, it means a lot more choice.  Tesla operates more than 25,000 Superchargers globally. 

Map of Tesla Supercharger locations.
Credit Tesla
This Plugshare map has been filtered to show Supercharger-only charging locations in the Jacksonville area.
Credit Plugshare

In the Jacksonville area there are currently six Tesla Supercharger stations, according to Plugshare. Non-Tesla owners can already charge at many of Tesla’s slower destination chargers by using available adapters from third-party manufacturers.

Reaction to the news has been mixed among EV drivers, with many praising the news, while some Tesla owners are upset that Tesla will be opening its charging network to everyone, worrying that it could increase wait times at the Tesla stations for an open stall in some areas.

Tesla’s announcement comes as the race to expand America’s EV fast-charging infrastructure intensifies. Earlier this month Electrify America announced what it called it’s “Boost Plan,” to more than double its current electric vehicle EV charging infrastructure in the U.S. and Canada,  with plans to have more than 1,800 fast charging stations and 10,000 individual chargers installed by the end of 2025. 

A big infusion of federal dollars to expand fast-charging across the country could also be coming. President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators announced a deal on infrastructure spending last month that would include $7.5 billion for electric vehicles with a goal of building a national network of electric vehicle charges along highways and in rural and disadvantaged communities.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.