Tesla’s electric charging infrastructure, called the Supercharger Network, has been opened up for use by other electric vehicles for the first time. It’s just a small-scale pilot scheme for now, using 10 Supercharger locations in The Netherlands, but it’s the first step towards giving all electric car drivers access to the fastest and most widespread charging network in the world.
A Tesla statement said: “Access to an extensive, convenient and reliable fast-charging network is critical for large-scale EV adoption. That’s why, since opening our first Superchargers in 2012, we have been committed to rapid expansion of the network. Today, we have more than 25,000 Superchargers worldwide.”
The Supercharger Network charges at speeds of up to 250kW, which is way beyond the capability of most electric cars but means a theoretical rate of up to 1000 miles per hour of charging; in a Tesla Model 3 Long Range, 250kW charging means a 5-minute session will give the car 75 Miles of range, according to Tesla.
Thankfully, Tesla adopted the Combined Charging System (CCS) for its Network, which is used by the majority of manufacturers for their electric vehicles. It means that drivers of non-Teslas won’t have to pay for an adapter and will be able to simply plug their car into a Supercharger station in the same way they would any other EV point. Charging will be as simple as downloading the Tesla app and selecting the ‘charge a non-Tesla’ option.
However, non-Tesla drivers will be required to pay a little more for their energy than Tesla drivers will, which according to the company “reflects additional costs incurred to support charging a broad range of vehicles and adjustments to our sites to accommodate these vehicles. Rates vary by site, and you can view charging prices in the Tesla app. The per kWh price to charge can be lowered with a charging membership.”
Rapid charging generally means speeds of 40kW and above, capable of getting a meaningful battery range into an EV in 20- to 30 minutes. The vast majority of modern EVs have rapid charging capability of some sort, with the most modern EVs like the Audi e-tron GT, Porsche Taycan and Hyundai Ioniq 5 capable of 150kW max speeds.
Tesla has said it will monitor use of the 10 stations in the trial for congestion, to make sure that…well, that its existing customer base doesn’t get upset; a huge part of the appeal of Tesla ownership to date has been exclusive access to the Supercharger Network.
It’s not clear when the trial will end and Tesla will make a decision on widespread Supercharger access. The results of the trial will be key, of course, although Tesla seems adamant the experiment will work. “This move directly supports our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” said the company.