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Tesla Supercharger Network Now Open To (Some) Other Drivers In North America

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Tesla has now begun opening its Supercharger network to drivers of other vehicles. Ford drivers will be first because Ford was the first company to agree to switch its electric cars to the NACS charging standard. Cars from other manufacturers will be added in the order in which those companies jumped on the NACS bandwagon.

First, a little background. CleanTechnica has written many articles about the changeover to NACS. By now, most readers know that Tesla Superchargers are plentiful, reliable, and convenient to use. There are approximately twice as many Supercharger chargers in North America as there are fast chargers from all other charging companies combined. Giving access to the Supercharger network to drivers of Ford, GM, Hyundai, Kia, Rivian, and Stellantis electric car drivers will do wonders for curing the range anxiety headache many EV drivers have.

According to electrive, Tesla is making 15,000 of its Supercharger charge points available to non-Tesla drivers. Ford Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning, and E-Transit drivers were the first to gain access to those chargers because Ford was the first to make the switch to NACS.

“Starting today, Ford EV customers will have access to more than 15,000 Tesla Superchargers across the US and Canada, more than doubling fast charging options on the BlueOval Charge Network. This move will improve the public charging experience by giving our customers even more choice and is a vital part of our growth as an EV brand,” said Ford CEO Jim Farley the other day. “I would like to thank Elon and the Tesla team for their close collaboration and Tesla’s leadership to help change the lives of so many EV customers through improved access to charging.”

In all, Tesla has about 27,000 charging points in North America, but not all of them are capable of charging non-Tesla vehicles. V1 and older V2 chargers cannot. V3 chargers can and the latest V4 chargers can. But how does anyone know? That’s pretty simple, actually. Tesla explains it all on its website, which will have links for the drivers of other electric cars. Right now, only Ford owners have such a link.

Tesla Supercharger Network Expansion

Tesla Supercharger
Courtesy of Tesla

On the Tesla website, the company says that many of its Supercharging stalls will be accessible to other electric vehicle drivers in North America through the Tesla app and adapters provided by vehicle manufacturers. As soon as Q4 2024, new vehicles outside of Tesla will also start coming equipped with NACS. Vehicles that are NACS-equipped do not require an adapter.

Tesla says, “It’s always been our ambition to open the Supercharger network to all EVs, and by doing so, encourage more drivers to rapidly transition to an emission-free future.”

There are 3 types of Tesla Superchargers:

  • Tesla-only Superchargers, which only work for Tesla vehicles.
  • All-EVs Superchargers, which are available for all EVs to charge with a “Magic Dock” adapter that is provided at the charging post.
  • NACS Superchargers, which will become available gradually by vehicle manufacturer and can be accessed through an adapter. The adapter has to be provided by your vehicle manufacturer. For new vehicles that are NACS-equipped, no adapter will be necessary.

Tesla makes it super easy to find the charging points that non-Tesla drivers can use with an interactive map that allows them to search for them by location throughout North America. Simply go to the Supercharger page on the Tesla website and click the “Find Us” button in the lower left corner. The map has a dedicated link for non-Tesla drivers.

Except for those 500 Supercharger charging points that are equipped with CCS charging cables, non-Tesla drivers will need an adapter to connect their car to the charger. Ford is making those adapters available free of charge for any owners who buy or order prior to June 1, 2024. After that date, the chargers will cost $250 each. Details about what other companies will do for their existing electric car owners will vary by manufacturer. Expect more information when access to the Supercharger network for those cars is announced.

The Fast Charging Adapter — which is designed, engineered, and supplied by Tesla — will be shipped to Ford EV owners who sign up via Owners can use their FordPass credentials, which they currently use to access the BlueOval network of chargers, to sign up for the adapter. Ford customers will pay about 30 percent more per kilowatt-hour than Tesla drivers. Or they can opt for a “Supercharging Membership” for $12.99 a month and pay the same per kWh as Tesla drivers. The cost of the subscription is similar to the what non-Tesla drivers in Europe pay.

Tesla Supercharger Network Will Serve Most EVs

Ford and other companies have agreed to switch to the NACS standard before the end of 2025, which means their cars will come from the factory with charging ports that accept the NACS plug. For older charging equipment that uses the CCS plug, a different adapter will be needed to charge at those locations. Eventually, CCS equipment in North America will mostly disappear or be donated to the Smithsonian.

Once owners have their adapter and have signed up for FordPass, accessing the Tesla Supercharger network is relatively easy. Ford owners can use the FordPass App or the in-car Charge Assist app to locate one of the 15,000 Tesla Superchargers available, find an open Tesla Supercharger, connect the adapter to the Tesla plug, and connect to their Ford EV. The car will immediately start charging, similar to Tesla vehicles, because billing information and charge costs are synched via the owner’s FordPass account.

In the future, Autoblog says, Tesla Supercharger location info will be coming to Apple Maps EV Routing for cars equipped with Apple CarPlay, Google Maps EV Routing for cars equipped with Android Auto, and Ford Connected Built-In Navigation, as well as route planning. Ford also said route planning in the future will be available in the Charge Assist in-car app.

There are still some issues to be resolved, however. Tesla Superchargers traditionally have quite short charging cables that are just long enough to reach the left rear corner of the car where the charging port is located. This makes it difficult for the charging cable to reach if the charging port is located on the side of a vehicle. It just so happens that is an issue for Ford EVs, all of which have their charging port on the left side between the front wheel and the driver’s door.

It also complicates things for people who tow trailers. V4 Superchargers come with longer charging cables, but that may not solve all the issues for people who tow stuff. Only pull-through arrangements will meet their needs and there are precious few of them, although Tesla and other charging networks are working to address that issue.

The Takeaway

My wife and I own a Chevy Bolt and we are already starting to explore where Superchargers are located in our area. Last summer, we felt like intrepid explorers as we set out on road trips throughout New England. Now we are feeling relief, knowing there may be Supercharger locations close to those same destinations. Where once we had significant range anxiety doing road trips with the Bolt, now we feel comfortable visiting family and friends without needing to plug into a wall outlet for 36 hours once we arrive.

This is huge news and will go a long way toward making people more comfortable buying electric cars in North America. That means the EV revolution should get a significant boost soon. Range anxiety is the number one reason people won’t buy an electric car. Now they will have to find a different excuse.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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