The American EV maker would be giving up its biggest strength, but it could also be a hit decision.
Tesla will have to open up its Supercharger network of EV fast chargers to accommodate any electric vehicle out there that uses the CCS connector if it wants a piece of the $7.5 billion pie planned by Washington for accelerating EV adoption throughout the United States.
The story comes via Reuters, which writes that the Biden administration wants to fill the country with 500,000 EV chargers in the coming years, up from 100,000 in 2021, and that it wants to convert 50 percent of all new vehicle sales to electric by 2030.
It’s a massive undertaking that needs Tesla’s involvement and its widespread Supercharger network which currently has almost 5,000 stations and over 40,000 connectors worldwide. But until now, Tesla has kept its charging web exclusive to the models it makes, although, in Europe and Australia, it opened up some of its stalls to EVs made by other manufacturers.
However, in Europe, most electric cars, including those made by Tesla, use the CCS Combo 2 connector for charging, while in the United States, the Superchargers only offer Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector.
Elon Musk said on more than one occasion that Tesla will implement CCS Combo 1 at the company’s US Superchargers, but nothing really happened in this respect, with a “Magic Dock” stall with CCS1 reportedly in the works. Tesla owners can get a CCS1 adapter that can plug into generally-available charging stations across the country, but owners of EVs made by other brands can’t tap into Tesla’s network.
This might soon change if the American EV maker wants to get a portion of the massive $7.5 billion subsidy plan. According to Reuters, the Department of Transportation said it will finalize a requirement this week that will put pressure on Tesla to expand its network to competitor EVs.
Democratizing access to the Supercharger network might be a huge hit for Tesla, opening a new revenue stream for the company, but it can also have negative effects on the brand’s exclusivity appeal. Plus, it will be much harder to manage a network that’s suited to all EVs, as we’ve seen time and time again with public charging stations.
It’s worth noting that not only Tesla will be eligible to receive government funds, but all companies that can help speed up the installation of EV charging stations with CCS connectors, like EVgo, Electrify America, and ChargePoint, among others.
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