In response to a tweet praising Tesla’s proprietary charging connection for advancing electric vehicle infrastructure, Tesla CEO Elon Musk replied Tuesday with the announcement that the electric automaker would be “making our Supercharger network open to other EVs later this year.” That little tidbit could be a big deal for all EV drivers.
Most EVs use the accepted industry-standard J1772 connection for Levels 1 and 2 charging or the backward-compatible Combined Charging System connection for DC fast-charging capability. There’s also the CHAdeMO DC fast-charging connection, championed primarily by Nissan and Mitsubishi, which looks to be phased out soon.
But Tesla’s ports and connectors are different. The slim connection is able to handle both low- and fast-charging connections and has a smaller footprint that’s easier for designers to hide. Tesla also has a huge infrastructure head start, pioneering its Supercharger network in the early days of EV adoption and growing rapidly nationwide.
Tesla drivers currently have the option to relatively inexpensive J1772 adapter for Level 2 stations. There’s even a rather bulky CHAdeMO adapter available. (Tesla’s CCS charging adapter has been announced, but is not yet available in the US.) However, that adaptability is a one-way street; only Tesla cars can use the company’s Supercharger network. For now.with a
Musk’s tweet gives us a timeline for something that’s been: The opening of the Supercharger network to other electric makes and models. And while the statement is light on details — we don’t know, for example, whether non-Tesla vehicles will be able to DC fast charge or be limited to Level 2 speeds — it does come with big implications for consumers and the industry.
For drivers, this means more options for charging around town and an alternative long-range charging option during extended trips. For Tesla, this will likely create a new revenue stream. After all, charging youror at a Supercharger likely won’t be free. Third-party vehicles will also likely need an adapter to physically connect to the Supercharger, which we’re sure Tesla will be happy to sell.
Overall, this seems like a win-win. Infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges for EV adoption, and while the situation is slowly improving thanks to large networks like EVgo, Electrify America and Tesla dotting parking lots and roadside stops with thousands of charging points, EV drivers can only benefit from more availability and more choice of where they can plug in.