Tesla developed the largest DC fast-charging network in the world, enabling their electric cars to make shorter stops. But until now, that valuable grid has only been useful for Teslas. However, Elon Musk proposed a simple solution so that all electric cars, regardless of brand affiliation, could charge at Tesla Superchargers. This gives current electric car owners more available charging stations while incentivizing others to buy make the transition to EVs.
Why can’t non-Teslas charge at Superchargers?
For starters, it’d literally be like putting a square peg in a round hole. Tesla Superchargers have their own type of fast charging connector that can only go into Telsa’s cars. In order to solve this problem, they’d develop a small piece of hardware that could connect to other types of DC fast charging outlets. Pod Point explains that the two open standards are CHAdeMO and Combined Charging System, with the latter being the more popular option.
If Tesla goes through with opening chargers up to all-electric cars, it’ll double the amount of DC fast chargers available nationwide for electric cars. According to PopSci, there are currently over 18,000 DC fast chargers available to all-electric cars. In comparison, Tesla has built over 25,000 Superchargers, meaning that the combined amount of chargers would skyrocket to over 43,000.
With the number of universal charging stations doubled across the nation, there’s no doubt interest in electric cars would increase as well. And Elon plans to keep it simple for everybody.
How will Tesla’s charger adapters work?
As mentioned, the adapter would be a small piece of hardware that you could buy from Tesla. But in a shareholder meeting, Elon explained that “we’re currently thinking it’s a real simple thing where you just download the Tesla app and you go to Supercharger, and you just indicate which stall you’re in. So you plug in your car, even if it’s not Tesla.”
It’d require a massive software overhaul to be able to connect the Tesla app to non-Tesla cars, but now more than ever an expanded infrastructure is crucial. The demand for electric cars continues to increase. And if fast charging solutions don’t expand with it, electric cars could struggle with the same issues hydrogen fuel cell cars are dealing with: lack of infrastructure.
When can electric car buyers be able to buy these adapters?
While there isn’t a specific date, Elon hopes to roll out the adapters by the end of 2021. But there are a few concerns from Tesla owners that expanding the network to non-Teslas will only increase congestion. During the holiday seasons especially, there just aren’t enough charging stations to go around. And while most Tesla fast-charging stations have 10 fast chargers available per station, it still doesn’t meet the demand.
So expanding now, as we near the most travel-heavy part of the year, could clog up the charging stations even more. Though maybe expanding is just Elon’s Christmas gift to electric cars everywhere, opening up his grid to the masses.