TESLA: Supercharger network to open to rival EVs

TESLA: Supercharger network to open to rival EVs

Tesla boss Elon Musk has suggested that the brand's popular Supercharger network of rapid chargers will open up to rival electric vehicles and has offered up more detail on how this will work.

Speaking at Tesla's quarterly financial conference, he confirmed that drivers with non-Tesla EVs will be able to use Tesla's smartphone app to access Supercharger public chargers. They'll need to sign up for a Tesla account and will then be charged for a session in a similar fashion to any other charging network.

Musk said that Tesla’s Superchargers in ‘all countries’ would be available to EV drivers ‘over time’, but no specific timings have been confirmed for its UK Supercharger stations. In terms of how it could work, Musk announced: "you just download the Tesla app, you go to the Supercharger, you just indicate which stall you are in, you plug in your car – even if it’s not a Tesla – and you just access the app to tell ‘turn on the stall that I’m in for how much electricity’, and this should work for almost any manufacturer’s electric car."

Vehicles with slower charging rates could be charged extra, presumably to keep a flow of cars through the charging points and avoid delays for other drivers. "If the charge-rate is super-slow then someone will be charged more,” Musk said. “We’ll also be smarter with how we charge for electricity at the Supercharger,” indicating prices may be adjusted in accordance with demand. Supercharger stations are currently being upgraded to provide up to 300kW.

Since implementation, Tesla’s Supercharger network has been limited to its own models and has been a key selling point for the brand thanks to the availability, speed and reliability they offer owners at 25,000 global locations. Opening up the network is likely to prove controversial for Tesla owners but Musk said: "Our goal is to support the advent of sustainable energy. It is not to create a walled garden and bludgeon our competitors.”

Access was historically protected through the use of a proprietary charging cable but starting with the launch of its best-selling Model 3, Tesla has shifted to using the same Type2 and CCS charging sockets as other mainstream electric models like the Volkswagen ID.3.

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By Wayne Gorrett

Wayne has been covering developments in the UK's automotive sector for over 10 years, providing news, reviews, first-drive impressions and opinion pieces for a number of print and web outlets in the UK and South Africa. A former marketing director, Wayne is based in a rural village near Winchester, Hampshire. You can follow him on Twitter: @WaynesWorldAuto Facebook: WaynesWorldAuto Instagram: WaynesWorldAuto