In a first for Tesla, it has announced that it will allow electric vehicles manufactured by other automakers to charge at its Superchargers in Norway. This may be due to regulatory pressure to make chargers available to all EVs, just like any gas-powered car can fill up at a gas station due to industry standards that apply across all brands.
German officials have also joined the effort to encourage Tesla to make its Superchargers available to other EVs. German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer confirmed that he is talking with Tesla officials regarding the possibility of making the Supercharger capable of supporting models made by other manufacturers, though he said there were a few technical issues to solve.
Tesla was the first to have charging stations for its electric vehicles due to its early recognition of the phenomenon called “range anxiety,” which could have slowed down adoption of electric vehicles due to consumers’ concern about getting home to charge their cars before the battery ran out and left them stranded.
Its charging stations typically have between 8 and 40 Superchargers capable of handling charging batteries at a power rating of 150 KW or 250 KW, depending on location, which reduces the time it takes to add charge to a Tesla vehicle. Tesla is also currently planning bigger charging stations, including one in Santa Monica, California, that will have 62 Superchargers (and may include Elon Musk’s concept of a 1950s-themed restaurant at some point in the future if a recent trademark application is any indication).
Tesla charging stations also come with additional features like the ability to manage the charging process, including billing and starting or stopping the charging process, with a mobile app.
Tesla initially made charging free for its vehicles in an effort to encourage sales, but now charges a price for charging that it says is “at-cost.” This early mover advantage made it possible for Tesla Superchargers to become the most used out of any brand of EV charger.
Now more generic charging stations are being rolled out, an effort that is especially being supported by Volkswagen’s and Electrify America’s investment in standardized chargers in the United States. The European side is being covered by private companies that include Fastned, which is planning a network of 1,000 charging stations across Europe and is also a partner in the Oxford Superhub.
For other EV owners in Norway, this may simply mean having the advantage of being able to charge their vehicles at any station even if it has the Tesla branding. This can help them skip the risk of hooking up to a malfunctioning charger, which seems to happen fairly often with more generic charging stations. At Tesla’s larger Supercharger stations, its usually considered no big deal if one or two of them are down because there will usually be at least six more up and running.
Smaller charging stations with other brands on them typically have not much more than four or five chargers, which can make having a couple of them down really inconvenient for EV owners who may have to wait for one to open up or go on to the next charging station. This can be as much of a hassle as having to drive to the next gas station in a vehicle that is already running on fumes. At a Tesla charging station, dealing with this issue may be no more of an issue than having to pull forward to the next charging station if one isn’t working.