Elon Musk caused consternation among many Tesla owners recently when he said the company is planning to open up its Supercharger stations to non-Tesla electric vehicles (EVs), with many fearing the move will result in crowded facilities and longer lines at chargers.
But in a second-quarter earnings call with Tesla investors on Monday, July 26, the Tesla chief made clear he was still committed to the plan, though acknowledged that for it to be effective the electric-car company will need to expand the Supercharger network at a rapid pace to keep up with growing EV output by other automakers.
Tesla currently has around 25,000 Superchargers operating at almost 3,000 stations around the world, enabling drivers to add up to 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes.
Musk added that Tesla’s plan to open up its fast chargers to non-Tesla EVs arises from the company’s long-held ambition is to “support the advent of sustainable energy … not to create a walled garden and bludgeon our competitors.”
The CEO went on to explain how non-Tesla owners will be able to use the Superchargers when they become available later this year.
“We’re thinking about a real simple thing where you just download the Tesla app, you go to the Supercharger, you just indicate which stall you are in, you plug in your car, even if it’s not a Tesla, and you just access the app to tell it to ‘turn on the stall that I’m in’ for how much electricity, and this should work for almost any manufacturer’s electric car,” Musk said during the conference call (via Electrek).
In a bid to reduce the kind of station overcrowding that many Tesla owners fear, Musk said that a dynamic pricing system could be introduced where costs will be higher for non-Tesla vehicles that charge at a slower rate. Also, the Supercharger stations will cost more to use during times like rush hour, and less during quieter parts of the day. How this goes down with current Tesla owners will of course depend on what the company decides to charge during peak times.
Non-Tesla owners in North America will also have to use an adapter to connect their EV to a Supercharger. The device will be available for use at each station, though if theft becomes an issue then Tesla will simply withdraw them, leaving drivers who want to use Superchargers with no choice but to buy their own.
Tesla is yet to offer a firm date on when it will open up its Superchargers to other electric vehicles.
Musk’s comments came as Tesla posted record quarterly profits of $1.1 billion after delivering just over 200,000 vehicles, more than double that of the same period a year ago.
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