Abig change is coming to the Tesla Supercharging network in the US (and in North America in general), as the chargers will be opened up to non-Tesla EVs.
We know that the company is trying to open the network to all electric cars globally, which in Europe, is already implemented through a pilot project (in the Netherlands, Norway and France).
At the recent Financial Times Future of the Car event, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed (see at 1:03:40) that to make the network available to other EVs, Tesla will add the industrywide connector (SAE J1772 Combo1/CCS Combo 1 or simply CCS1) as an option. “It’s a little trickier in the US because we have a different connector than the rest of the industry, but we will be adding the rest of the industry’s connector as an option to Superchargers in the US.”
It’s not yet clear how it will be implemented, but we guess that the Supercharging stalls will be dual-head, with the Tesla proprietary connector and a separate CCS1 connector. Another theoretical way would be to have separate stalls (which complicates logistics) or some kind of adapter that’s Tesla-to-CCS1 available at the site.
In Europe, the situation is much simpler, because since the launch of the Tesla Model 3, all new Tesla models (and the upcoming refreshed Model S/Model X) are natively equipped with a CCS2-compatible charging inlet. Once the early Model S/Model X ages (let’s say by 2030), the company will be able to stick to the CCS2 entirely (old cars can use CCS2 through a special adapter).
Once the car is connected, non-Tesla BEVs can start charging using Tesla’s app. We guess that this solution will be utilized also in the US.
Elon Musk does not provide any timeline of when we can expect the first non-Tesla-friendly Superchargers in the US.
However, he said that this move is the right thing to do, even if it reduces Tesla’s competitive advantage of having an exclusive charging network:
“We are trying as best as possible to do the right thing for the advancement of electrification, even if that diminishes our competitive advantage”
Opening the Supercharging network to other EVs means that there will be more electric cars at the Tesla charging stations, which at popular locations might be challenging during peak periods.
On the other hand, Tesla is also launching the charging adapter from CCS Combo 1 (CCS1) to Tesla’s proprietary standard. It will allow Tesla users to use the general fast-charging infrastructure, reducing the demand for charging at Tesla Superchargers. So maybe the two effects will mostly compensate for each other and there will be no big issues.