In a recent tweet, Musk said that Tesla would be making its Supercharger network “open to other EVs later this year.” At face value, that’s great news. As critical as I am of Tesla’s vehicles, and overall business practices, its Supercharger network is an undeniable stroke of genius and is by far the biggest advantage of owning a Tesla over other EVs. There are other charging stations for EVs but the Supercharger’s streamlined experience, far-reaching network, and ease of use make it far superior to anything else.
If Tesla opens its network up to other EVs, the entire EV customer market, as well as the entire automotive industry, will benefit greatly. It’s the sort of move that would help push EVs forward far quicker and help us kick fossil fuels for good. However, I won’t hold my breath.
While Musk’s tweet, at face value, is great, its wording is crucial. Notice he didn’t say “all EVs” but “other EVs”. Maybe I’m just being pedantic but Musk’s claims very rarely fully come true. According to previous tweets or claims, the Tesla Roadster should already be on sale and hit 60 mph in 1.9 seconds, fully Level 5 autonomous vehicles should already be driving around by themselves, and the Cybertruck would be bulletproof. Maybe I’m just overly cynical but I have a feeling there will be far too many stipulations to this claim and I have all of the questions.
Will all other EVs be able to use the Supercharger? Will it be able to charge them at full speed or will it throttle back its charging speed for non-Tesla vehicles? Will the streamlined payment system work with other EV owners or will they have to jump through hoops? Will other EV owners be charged more than Tesla owners?
Genuinely, I’m hoping Tesla opens its network up to all other EVs, costs the same for them, allows the user experience to be the same, and charges at the max speed possible. Tesla and Musk both have a great opportunity to actually help change the auto industry for the better. When Volvo invented the three-pointed seatbelt, its patent was open-source, free for all other automakers to use, because it would help save all lives, not just Volvo customers’ lives. Now, Tesla has the chance to make a similar impact by helping make the entire industry greener, faster, and help us kick fossil fuel-dependence faster than ever.