Elon Musk says Tesla Supercharger network will be open to other cars this year

Tesla Supercharger Station
CNBC | Andrew Evers

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday that the company’s network of DC fast-charging stations for its electric vehicles, also known as the Tesla Supercharger network, will be open to other types of electric vehicles in 2021.

Responding to a Tesla fan on Twitter, where Musk commands a following of 58.3 million, the CEO specifically wrote: “We’re making our Supercharger network open to other EVs later this year.”

Musk did not say where in the world Tesla would make its DC fast-charging stations available for use with other electric vehicles, or which makes and models would be compatible with Tesla’s on-the-road chargers in 2021.

He did say that Tesla intends to make Superchargers open to other electric vehicles in all countries, eventually.

Previously, Tesla marketed its vehicles as having a tremendous advantage — compared to other brands of battery electric vehicles — due to the company’s exclusive charging stations on the road.

The Tesla charging network is available to drivers of Tesla cars without any kind of membership fees required. Tesla bills drivers for charging by the minute, or per kilowatt hour for “supercharging” depending on local laws.

While Teslas can power up at most any electric vehicle charging station using adaptor cables, Tesla owners have the company’s level 3 and newer Supercharger stations to themselves for now.

The connectors they use to plug in and power up on the road at newer Superchargers make Tesla’s stations incompatible with others’ EVs, and theoretically keep lines shorter, and chargers more available for Tesla drivers.

Musk’s promise on Tuesday gives more details than an earlier remark he made to YouTuber MKBHD, Marques Brownlee, in December 2020. At that time, Musk said other automakers were “low-key,” seeking access to Tesla Superchargers, and the equipment was already “being made accessible to other electric cars.”

Previous reports by Reuters and others said Tesla has been in talks to establish fast-charging stations open to electric vehicles from other companies in Germany, Sweden and Norway.

Competitors in the U.S. have long focused on charging stations that serve battery electric vehicles from a wide range of automakers. These include: Aerovironment, ChargePoint, Electrify America, Volta, eVgo, Sema and many others. (In China and some parts of Europe, the rollout of charging infrastructure has been even more rapid than it has been in the U.S.)

According to Tesla’s website, the company now operates more than 25,000 charging stations around the world.

If Tesla opens up significant numbers of its charging stations in the US — especially if it can power up cars from renewable energy sources there — it may tap into new government funding such as grants, tax credits, rebates or green energy credits which it can sell to companies that need them to offset their own environmental impact.

The exact types of credits would be at the discretion of various state and federal authorities that run environmental programs and green credit regimes.

In the first quarter of 2021, Tesla reported $518 million in revenue from sales of regulatory credits. The company is expected to deliver its second-quarter earnings update, including new Supercharger numbers and revenue from regulatory credit sales on Monday July 26.

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