Tesla boss Elon Musk has this week made a notable intervention in the rollout of charging facilities for electric vehicles (EVs).
Elon Musk said on Tuesday that Tesla’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.
Last September, Tesla said it would expand its Supercharger electric-car charging infrastructure in Europe as it seeks to boost demand for electric vehicles.
In the beginning, Tesla had favoured slower charging at customers’ homes and workplaces as their main charging method.
But in recent years its customer base spread to include people who live in apartment blocks or people who live in cities who do not necessarily have access to home charging points.
People who live in London for example, typically have to park their cars on the street (where it would be impossible and frankly dangerous to charge an EV).
Tesla’s Supercharger stations were thus initially conceived as a network that would enable long-distance travel through strategically placed high-speed charging points.
A V3 Supercharger point is strong enough to give a Tesla Model 3 car a range of 75 miles on a five-minute charge, so is an attractive proposition for Tesla owners in a hurry.
Tesla currently has 2,500 Supercharger stations globally, with over 25,000 charging points. And they feature a proprietary charging connector, meaning that other EVs with different connectors, are currently unable to use them (even if they were allowed to).
But Elon Musk this week signalled a change in its strategy, when he responded to a Tesla fan on Twitter.
“Funny how many people are now questioning why Tesla created their own proprietary charging connector and that it’s not fair for other EVs,” tweeted Teslatino. “How about no support for @elonmusk when he was advancing the technology. His team created a reliable way to charge the fleet? Deal with it!”
Elon Musk responded with a commitment to open up Tesla’s Supercharger stations to other EVs.
“We created our own connector, as there was no standard back then & Tesla was only maker of long range electric cars,” Musk tweeted.
“It’s one fairly slim connector for both low & high power charging,” he added. “That said, we’re making our Supercharger network open to other EVs later this year.”
There was no word on either Tesla’s Supercharger stations will be open to other EVs in all countries, or whether Tesla will offer an alternative connector for EVs from different manufacturers.
Musk’s commitment will be welcome news for owners of EVs, as there has been some notable criticism from EV drivers in the UK at least, about the scarcity of suitable charging stations currently.
This is on top of concerns about lengthy charging times.
In the UK there have been complaints that charging stations around cities for example are overly crowded with other EVs waiting to be charged first, which entails an even longer wait before an EV can even be connected to the charging station itself.
And then long charging times compound this bottleneck and causes more backlog.
There are also complaints that a high percentage of existing EV charging stations in the UK are often out of order, refuse to properly charge a particular EV, and even refuse to authorise card payments from the machine.
Another criticism, that has been levelled at Tesla in particular of late on YouTube, concerns the “right to repair” movement.
Tesla has been at the centre of videos on YouTube, in which customers have been quoted $16,000 to replace an entire battery pack, when a $700 repair to a cooling hose or a single faulty battery cell replacement, is needed to fix the problem.
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