Electric vehicle owners queueing to use charging points at motorway service areas may in future not have to gaze longingly at rows of unused Tesla Superchargers.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that he intends to open up the brand’s Supercharger charging network to other types of electric vehicles.
Tesla has established a major network across the globe of DC fast-chargers – now numbering more than 25,000. But these use a specific plug to ensure only the brand’s cars can use them. While in some countries adaptors are marketed to suit Tesla chargers, generally these points have not been available to other makes of EV.
In the UK, rows of Tesla Superchargers are a familiar sight in motorway service areas, usually greatly outnumbering charge points for other electric vehicles.
Musk revealed his plans to open up the network in a reply to a tweet on his Twitter feed, and said it would happen later in 2021.
He did not specify which cars would be able to use Tesla points or where charge points would be opened up but, according to reports in the US, discussions have been underway in Germany, Sweden and Norway.
Tesla has previously sold its cars on the basis of drivers having access to an exclusive fast-charging network and not having to sign up to a range of subscriptions in order to recharge their cars. But the US reports suggest that freeing up the network would enable Tesla to tap into a range of government funding.
How quickly any such expansion might come to the UK, and what cars would be compatible with the chargers, remains open to question. Some sources suggest that Tesla has previously made such an offer but under such onerous terms that all other car manufacturers rejected them.
However other reports claim that Tesla is even considering modifying its connectors on future models, to adopt similar designs to other EVs.
Any opening up of the Tesla network would certainly be welcome at motorway service areas planning how to cope with the expansion of EV use. Speaking in 2019, hydrogen fuel-cell proponent Hugo Spowers claimed that to provide EV charging facilities equivalent to the throughput a single petrol pump at a motorway services sees in one hour, would require electrical infrastructure sufficient to power a village of 38,000 homes.