Tesla Will Share Supercharger Network With Other Automakers in 2022: Report

Elon shows he can play nice in the sandbox.

Tesla

Part of Tesla’s appeal is its attractive fast-charging Supercharger network, and Elon Musk and company have made big moves to expand its network worldwide. As of this week, the word is out that Tesla plans to open its charging network to other EV makers next year.

U.S.-based EV customers might want to quell their excitement for the time being, however. The latest news (reported first by Electrek) is that the California-based automaker has applied to open its Supercharger network to be eligible for government incentives in Norway alone, for now.

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Tesla says it currently operates 25,000+ Superchargers around the world, with a sizable number in the U.S. 

"In the application, Tesla describes the relevant charging stations will nevertheless be publicly available from the third quarter of 2022," reads the Vestland county meeting minutes, as reported by Tom’s Guide."The administration considers that the charging stations for which benefits have been applied for will then be eligible for the scheme, provided that the benefits paid out after Tesla opens the charging offer for all car brands no later than the end of September 2022."

In the U.S., Tesla Superchargers employ proprietary connectors that are not used in Europe. The CCS standard the company is using in other parts of the world means it’s easier to create a reciprocal network overseas. As far back as December of 2020, Musk said via Twitter that Tesla Superchargers are “low-key” being made accessible to other electric cars. He didn't offer up any significant details after that, but earlier this month, Reuters reported that Germany's transport minister told newspaper Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung that he was in talks with Tesla to make its Superchargers available to other manufacturers. 

Tesla knows it has a significant advantage with its charging network, and its customers enjoy the exclusivity and speed. The company nabbed the early adopters and Tesla drivers are known to be loyal to the brand. Opening up its 480V direct-current Supercharger network to vehicles from other manufacturers could diminish its lead in the market, and Musk knows it. The first day Tesla drivers have to wait in line for their turn to access a Supercharger behind another automaker’s vehicle, they’re going to make their displeasure known. 

I asked the question “what would it take to get you to only buy EVs from now on?” in April, and the post logged 327 comments and counting. A large number of you answered that charging speed and infrastructure is a major factor, and as of today the Supercharger network can complete a full charge in about an hour. That’s still far slower than a quick stop at a gas station, which takes less than five minutes in most cases and you’re back on the road.

Still, as manufacturers grow EV fleets and more customers demand all-electric powerplants, they’re going to have to figure out how to provide rapid charging. I expect Musk to weigh carefully his options for expansion while juggling government regulations and long-term plans. For other EV companies, partnering with Tesla would be the quickest route and would seem to require the least investment, if Tesla is willing to play.

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