Tesla has started to open up its Supercharger network to non-Tesla electric vehicles (EVs).
Tesla chief Elon Musk promised in July that the automaker would begin the process before the end of this year.
For now, however, only 10 Supercharger locations are available to drivers of non-Tesla EVs — and all of the stations are in the Netherlands.
The automaker said it’s starting with a limited number of sites so that it can “review the experience, monitor congestion, and assess feedback” from both Tesla and non-Tesla drivers. It added that it wants to expand to more countries “shortly,” but said that additional sites will only be opened to non-Tesla vehicles “if there is available capacity.
To use a Supercharger at one of the Dutch sites, non-Tesla EV drivers need to first download the Tesla app and create an account. Then it’s a case of selecting “charge your non-Tesla,” locating the nearest available Supercharger site, and plugging in, with all payments handled by the app.
Tesla vehicles in Europe use the Combined Charging System that’s also used by other automakers, while in the U.S. Tesla cars use a proprietary connector. This made it easier for Tesla to launch the pilot across the pond. It also means that if Tesla opens up its Supercharger network in the U.S., it will have to sell or loan an adapter to non-Tesla EV drivers who want to use one of its Superchargers.
“More customers using the Supercharger network enables faster expansion,” Tesla said on Monday, November 1, adding: “Our goal is to learn and iterate quickly, while continuing to aggressively expand the network, so we can eventually welcome both Tesla and non-Tesla drivers at every Supercharger worldwide.”
Tesla currently operates 25,000 fast-charging Superchargers at around 2,700 stations globally, with the technology adding up to 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes. The company says that access to an “extensive, convenient, and reliable fast-charging network is critical for large-scale EV adoption.” Opening up its chargers to more drivers will also add a new revenue stream to its business.
Musk has long spoken about the idea of opening up Superchargers to drivers of non-Tesla vehicles, saying three years ago that Tesla’s system was not “a walled garden.”
But the plan to allow increased use of the chargers has irked some Tesla drivers who fear longer lines at the stations. That’s why Tesla is starting small and insisting it will be “closely monitoring each site for congestion and listening to customers about their experiences.”