Tesla Will Open Charging Stations to Other Brands. Teslarati not Happy.

August 5, 2021

Exclusivity has been part of the mystique of the Tesla brand.

Popular Science:

Tesla CEO Elon Musk first announced that Tesla was planning to open its network to non-Tesla vehicles via a tweet on July 20, and later expanded upon the idea during the manufacturer’s quarterly earnings call on July 26.

“We’re currently thinking it’s a real simple thing where you just download the Tesla app and you go to Supercharger,” said Musk, referring to the company’s line of fast chargers. “And you just indicate which stall you’re in. So you plug in your car, even if it’s not Tesla.”

Currently, all Tesla Superchargers in the US use a proprietary inlet connector with a form factor that can only be used to charge Tesla-branded vehicles. Other EVs on the market use an open standard like the Combined Charging System (CCS) or less common CHAdeMO connector. This means that the Supercharger inlet cannot be physically inserted into a non-Tesla vehicle to charge it.

The solution involves a small new piece of hardware. Musk says that the company will start selling a Tesla-designed adapter which sits between the car and the Supercharger, which will allow owners of non-Tesla vehicles to use the Supercharging network along with the Tesla app to charge their vehicle.

The expansion of charging networks in the U.S. is reaching a critical tipping point. As more automakers move towards electrification, the need for additional chargers is predicted to grow at an astronomical rate. In fact, President Joseph Biden recently called for providers to reach a milestone of a half-million chargers installed by 2030 and set out to establish an infrastructure funding bill to make the target a reality. But recent bipartisan compromises seek to cut the available funding for EV charging infrastructure expansion in half, meaning that charging may get a bit more crowded before it gets better. Since Tesla controls a large portion of the total chargers deployed today, allowing other vehicles to charge on the Supercharging network could ease the crunch.

Given the gravity of the situation, I’m not sympathetic to the squeals. Being an early adopter apparently not correlated with sense of global responsibility.


13 Responses to “Tesla Will Open Charging Stations to Other Brands. Teslarati not Happy.”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Crikey! This is like the Apple fanbois.

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      I think it is perfectly understandable. Those Superchargers were paid for by the premium prices people paid for their Teslas. The promise was that that Tesla would build enough of them so that they would be both plentiful and the numbers adequate.

      Now Tesla has broken that tacit promise, and will profit from the broken commitment exclusively. I think it is an awful idea.

  2. redskylite Says:

    Personally, I’m for it – it follows the trend of computers and networks that used to be highly proprietary. Now it’s fairly open and standardized with TCP/IP and free Linux available, with many free open products. Tesla presumably making money on the interface, good luck to them, makes sense. Up to society, manufacturers and business to ensure there is enough charging facilities for all of our new fleets, same as gas, etc.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Per commtank.com, it looks like it costs $250k to install a single modern underground gas tank (you need at least one per type of fuel, plus more if you have extra banks of pumps).

      Fully installing a single, stand-alone Level 3 EV charging station is ~$50,000, but some of that installation overhead would go down with multiple outlets. Standardized installation kits would almost certainly reduce the per-charger cost significantly. Once they’re in, the power would be “shipped” over the grid, rather than coordinating times for tanker trucks to refill your underground tanks.

      • ecoquant Says:

        Um, and there is the recurring cost of acquiring fuel, as you say. The last time I looked at it, getting and selling fuel isn’t a petrol station’s most profitable line. The goodies in the interior of a modern station are. The petrol is just a draw.

        In times of high fuel prices, I recall drivers surfing a strip to find the station with the absolute lowest price per gallon. Most chain station operators have no control over what they charge in their location: They are told what to charge by their handlers.

        Yes, standardization is bound to be better, although y’don’t want to rush in with it. Some of the high end Tesla chargers (Oneonta, NY is one) are amazing in how much energy they push into a battery.

        • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

          In this context, “standardized installation kits” meant having Possum City Power Pros using their familiarity with the process coordinating the equipment configuration and labor and permits and the utility hookup scheduling, which gets cheaper than the occasional one-off project.

          In the usual sense of equipment (or software) standardization, I’m all about electro-wonks from car-makers, big electrical kit designers and gummint standards agencies getting their nerd on and arguing about the battery safety requirements and plug designs and whatnot, CHAdeMO style.

          • ecoquant Says:

            Okay. Understand.

            Except when EV haters and especially Tesla haters exploit some tragedy caused by a deviation from manufacturers’ quality controls. Will these “innovators” submit to a standard manufacturer’s quality control regimen for their products, per Apple ?

        • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

          [I don’t hate Apple or Tesla, but I roll my eyes at the culture of fanatics associated with each.]

          No charger-maker has to establish quality control for other EV models, since the owners of those models will notice and publicize any charging problems and provide counter-advertising. Phone apps and automobiles have very different in-house QC requirements.

          • ecoquant Says:

            Yeah, but phone apps generally don’t need to work correctly in order to protect lives. It’s like thinking the quality required for desktop applications suffices for embedded software in aerospace.

          • ecoquant Says:

            A lot of these constraints are chronicled in the old Dr Dobbs Journal in the column called “Embedded Space” by Ed Nisley. Indeed Ed had one piece called something like “It never did that before!” which sifted through the NHTSA logs of the day finding all kinds of mischief which cars having software then did, including, if I recall, a BMW which, under a peculiar set of stimuli, locked its occupants in the cabin.

  3. Glenn Martin Says:

    Of course this could mean Tesla is about to announce a major expansion of its’ charging network.

  4. mboli Says:

    Sounds good to me!
    Often when I find a ChargePoint station it is not available to the public. Which you can’t always find out from the ChargePoint app or web site. ChargePoint stations can be broken and seemingly never fixed. Some of them are in very expensive public parking garages, but you don’t find out until you get there what the story is.
    The good news is that ChargePoint is frequently the brand in public and retail store parking lots etc. I am also seeing more Voltas recently, which are free.
    I think a psychological problem is: my one-or-two hours of level-2 charging with a J1732 could be accomplished in a few minutes in a Tesla at a Supercharger. I get that Tesla owners will resent my pokey slow-charging car occupying two hours of their supercharger’s time.

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