The administration wants to quickly expand US charging infrastructure, and Tesla’s established and reliable network may be the answer.
Tesla has already been talking for some time about opening its Supercharger network to all EVs, and it has already done so in some parts of the world. In other areas, it’s running pilot programs, but it hasn’t yet moved forward with full plans to open the network without restrictions. If it’s up to the Biden Administration, Tesla will move forward sooner rather than later.
As you may have seen in recent news, Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently spent some time at The White House and in other areas around Washington DC. There have been some reports about what he was doing there and who he talked with, though many are still just being substantiated by “people familiar with the matter.”
At any rate, it appears Musk met with some Biden aides and Senior White House officials to talk about the prospects of opening up Tesla’s Supercharger network – which is the largest and arguably most widespread and reliable DC Fast Charging network on our shores – to all electric vehicles, regardless of the brand.
Musk has offered the network to other automakers in the past, but it seemed none were interested. It would have come at a cost, for sure, and Tesla could have benefitted in a big way if other major automakers got involved to help build out and maintain the network while paying to allow their customers access.
Regardless of whether other automakers sign up, Tesla can still make money by simply charging non-Tesla owners to access and charge on its Supercharger network. If the network were available to all EV owners rather than exclusive to Tesla owners, the automaker could also benefit from an abundance of funding from the US federal government.
Funding is being dished out for the expansion of EV infrastructure in the US, and Tesla could exponentially increase availability overnight and probably get paid by the government for simply opening availability to a network that’s already fully operational and tried-and-true. Many Tesla owners will tell you that the Supercharger network is among the top reasons they chose a Tesla EV in the first place.
According to Teslarati, Musk met John Podesta and Mitch Landrieu to talk about the potential for opening the network. There are still few verifiable details from the meeting, but The Washington Post reported that the Biden Administration hopes to convince Musk to allow other EV manufacturers access to the network, which is interesting since this could be seen as different than allowing individual EV owners access.
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The word is that Tesla hasn’t yet officially committed to The White House’s proposal. Hopefully, either Tesla or the Biden Administration will have some sort of official announcement in the near future. We do know that the administration already promised that Tesla would be producing new Supercharger equipment to enable non-Tesla EV owners to use its network. There were also leaked details and images of a Tesla “Magic Dock” with a CCS connector for non-Tesla EVs.
If Tesla follows through with The White House’s plan, it could stand to get a sizable portion of the initial $7.5 billion the Biden administration has earmarked for the expansion of public charging infrastructure. We’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out.