Texas-based electric automaker Tesla hasn't exactly been quiet about its plans to open its large fast-charging network to non-Tesla EVs. In fact, the automaker has been piloting the program outside of the U.S. for some time. Soon, that program will expand stateside in order for Tesla to take part in the Federal Highway Administration's Charging and Fueling Infrastructure discretionary grant program.
Details of Tesla's plans came as part of a White House statement released Wednesday where it was revealed that the automaker plans to open 7,500 of its chargers to non-Tesla owners by the end of 2024.
Of the 7,500 chargers, at least 3,500 will be Level 3 DC Fast Charging stations capable of delivering 250 kW of power. The selected Superchargers will be positioned along highway corridors to more easily deliver quick charges to those who need them while traveling. The remainder will likely be Level 2 destination chargers which are typically found in locations like hotels, parking garages, restaurants, stores, and more.
Tesla says that it will also more than double the number of Superchargers deployed across the nation. Currently, Tesla's Supercharging network has 17,707 Level 3 DC fast charging ports across 1,657 stations, and 9,858 Level 2 ports at 4,175 locations according to the U.S. Department of Energy. For comparison, other DC fast-charging networks account for 11,091 ports across 5,236 locations.
The biggest issue that Tesla will face is outfitting its existing Superchargers with the equipment necessary to charge non-Tesla vehicles. In the U.S., Tesla has equipped its vehicles with a proprietary charger that it has dubbed the North American Charging Standard (NACS). Meanwhile, most other vehicles are equipped with the Combined Charging System (CCS). In order for non-Tesla vehicles to charge, they will require some sort of adapter or modification to the existing Tesla hardware.
Meanwhile, many Tesla owners aren't exactly taking the announcement as good news. Many theorized that opening up the chargers will increase the time spent in line at congested Superchargers. Others asked that Tesla limit the number of non-Tesla plugs available at the charging stations and charge third-party-brand owners more to prevent the problem.
"Get ready for wrong side charging, overcrowded chargers, wait time for Audi, [Volkswagen], and other EVs," wrote one Facebook user from Norway, sharing their experience of Tesla's "Non-Tesla Supercharging Pilot" that is already underway in their country.
Others asked if the automaker was planning to prioritize owners of Tesla vehicles when wait times were expected at the charger.
One upside to owners (and the general public) is that Tesla's pledge to open its chargers and double the network size will require it to also commit to maintenance. Tesla must also now bear the responsibility of keeping those chargers functioning. Part of the requirements set by the White House will be a 97% uptime requirement. That means any charging provider, including Tesla, will need to ensure that chargers are fixed within an average time of less than 11 days.
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