Overnight, Tesla has announced a new chapter in their Supercharger story. Tesla are for the first time, opening up their Supercharger network to non-Tesla vehicles.
Initially this will be done in a trail of 10 locations in the Netherlands, owners of 3rd party EVs, will be able to leverage Tesla’s Supercharging.
Given recharging options is a key factor when making an EV decisions, on the surface, this move appears like it could potentially hurt Tesla sales, but given their current production constraints, this may be the perfect time to launch this trial.
Tesla’s overall mission states that it is trying to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, so opening up charging options to more EVs, is certainly in line with that mission.
The challenge for Tesla is to balance Supercharging availability, with Tesla owners pretty nervous that they’ll now pull up to Supercharge and it be consumed with 3rd party EVs. Data on usage rates before today was obviously zero, but with a trial, Tesla can monitor the usage rates of Tesla vehicles vs non-Tesla vehicles and cross-reference that with overall availability.
For a non-Tesla EV to use the Tesla Supercharger, they need to download the Tesla app, create an account, configure a payment method (read: Credit Card), then visit a Supercharger. Each Supercharger has a unique identifier for that location 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B etc. so the relevant one can be easily selected from the app. Once the charger is connected to the car, the charging session can then commence.
Tesla obviously uses the same technique they do with Tesla owners and simply charge people for the amount of kW consumed.
Here’s where things get interesting.
Tesla drivers will continue to charge for the same price for Supercharging. Non-Tesla drivers will see an increased cost.
Pricing for Non-Tesla drivers reflects additional costs incurred to support charging a broad range of vehicles and adjustments to our sites to accommodate these vehicles. Rates vary by site, and you can view charging prices in the Tesla app. The per kWh price to charge can be lowered with a charging membership.
A charging membership was not something I had considered when this was discussed as a possibility, but in retrospect, makes a lot of sense. This means if you own a 3rd-party EV and plan on leveraging the Tesla Supercharging network multiple times per month, it’s likely to make sense that you subscribe to lower the cost of each charging session.
By allowing Non-Tesla vehicles to charge at Superchargers, as well as pay Tesla a subscription, it introduces a new revenue stream which we can expect much of to be re-invested into further Supercharger expansion.
The return on investment for the cost of a Supercharger installation is fairly straight forward. You have the initial capital cost, then the cost to provide power for each session, which is in the vast majority of cases coming from renewable energy. The costs charged to customers will pay back this investment over a number of years and depending on usage rates, will vary considerably between locations.
For Tesla, having 3rd-party vehicles added to the Supercharger payback, will reduce the timeframe to be profitable from that site, which should continue to yield profits for decades to come.
As a non-Tesla customer, you obviously can charge at other fast-charging locations, but given the reliability and availability of Superchargers, it’d be awfully tempting to at least try it out.
If this trial is successful (it will be), then Tesla will roll this out to more locations, how rapidly they do that is the question.
Non-Tesla owners based in the Netherlands can currently charge at 10 Supercharger sites across the country:
Locations where the trial is available today are:
- Apeldoorn Oost
This pilot is only accessible for CCS-enabled vehicles.
More information at Tesla.