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Clean Transport

Tesla Superchargers Are Now Open to All EVs (in Europe)

Tesla has expanded access to its network of Superchargers to all EV drivers in parts of Norway and France.

Tesla has opened more of its Superchargers in Europe for other EV drivers to use. That is a very hopeful sign. For the EV revolution to succeed, the world needs one charging standard. We don’t carry around a collection of adapters to put on the end of gasoline hoses — star-shaped for Fords, octagonal for GM products, trapezoidal for Chryslers — but EV drivers are forced to tote around adapters for their charging cables and a pocketful of charging company credentials, each with its own password to remember. It’s ridiculous. Plug & Charge is the future that we need today.

According to Engadget, there are now 15 Supercharger locations in Norway and another 20 in France that allow non-Tesla drivers to plug in and charge their EVs. Starting last November, the company began making its charging network available to other drivers in the Netherlands, France, Norway, Germany, and Belgium, with the rollout taking place over many months.

Only CCS-enabled vehicles are supported for now. Tesla owners will still be able to charge at Supercharger stations as normal, while drivers of other EVs will need to pay some additional fees to “support charging a broad range of vehicles and adjustments to our sites to accommodate these vehicles.”

The company says it will keep an eye on possible congestion at each site. Future expansion of the pilot will depend on capacity. Though, Tesla said that “more customers using the Supercharger network enables faster expansion.” Its ambition to open the network of Tesla Superchargers to non-Tesla EVs is intended to boost the overall availability of charging locations and encourage more drivers to opt for an electric vehicle. The extra revenue is a bonus.

Is Opening up the Tesla Superchargers a Good Thing?

Naturally, not everyone is thrilled with this new policy. First, there is the snob appeal of knowing only those who own a Tesla can use a Supercharger. Second, what if a Tesla driver arrives at a Supercharger location and finds all the equipment is being used to charge Zoes and e-Corsas and such? Oh, the horror!

A comment by charlie cc on Engadget states the issue clearly. “I can’t work out if this is good or bad for Tesla. The overriding reason I bought a Model 3 over other electric cars is the charging infrastructure, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. This would surely dent sales, I know if I had access to all the Tesla locations without a Tesla (which I assume is the end goal), I most probably would not buy a Tesla. On the other hand, massive kudos to Tesla if their aim is truly altruistic, it will be a massive help to the adoption of electric vehicles as a whole.”

I found this response from Sven J cogent and insightful. “In Europe, they mandated electric vehicles all use the same charging concepts, including connectors. They use the CCS standard. So other vehicles even being able to use Tesla chargers is really because of compliance requirements. In the US, we have no such government protection for consumers, so Tesla was able to build chargers others couldn’t use…and they did. They did create adapters so Tesla could use J1772 chargers, most everyone else’s in the US, but did not make it easy for everyone else to use Tesla chargers. So, in Europe, they were required by law to be compatible, and are, and are touting their altruism. In the US, they were not made to be compatible, and didn’t do so on their own accord. Says a lot if you only do the right thing if you have to.”

Perhaps “big government” is not quite the ogre some like to make it out to be.

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