Tesla will add CCS connectors to its Supercharger stations in the United States to let non-Tesla EV owners access the extensive charging network.
The company already announced plans to open its Supercharger network to all-electric vehicles globally, but the rollout of the initiative has been slow and is currently limited to Europe. The move makes sense considering Tesla has adopted the CCS standards in Europe like all other automakers and its Supercharger stations are already equipped with CCS connectors.
In North America, Tesla uses its own proprietary connector on both its vehicles and its Supercharger stations. This approach prevents non-Tesla EV owners from using the Supercharger network and limits Tesla owners to the Supercharger network for fast-charging unless they can get their hands on a CHAdeMO or CCS adapter.
It hasn’t been clear how Tesla plans to implement its plan to open the Supercharger network in the United States, but CEO Elon Musk previously talked about having an adapter at the stations for non-Tesla EV owners to use.
Now at the FT Future of Cars Conference, Musk hinted that Tesla will be adding the CCS connectors directly at the stations:
“It’s a little trickier in the US because we have a different connector than the rest of the industry, but we will be adding the rest of the industry connector as an option to Superchargers in the US.”
This comes after Tesla filed for incentives to deploy Supercharger stations in Texas with both CCS and Tesla connectors.
It’s also an approach similar to the one that Tesla took in Europe when first switching to the CCS standard with the Model 3. New Supercharger stations would get both Tesla and CCS connectors, and the automaker started to retrofit some existing stations as well.
The CEO didn’t offer a timeline on when Tesla plans to start adding CCS connectors to stations in the United States.
There’s going to be a balance to achieve in terms of giving non-Tesla EV owners more charging options and not alienating Tesla owners by overloading the already well-loaded Supercharger network.
If done right, opening will unlock a lot of value for the Supercharger network and non-Tesla EVs – especially if Tesla releases a CCS adapter.
Tesla is learning some from the pilot program in Europe right now, but these lessons won’t all apply to the United States, where the charging infrastructure for non-Tesla EVs is more limited.
It’s going to be interesting to see this story develop in the next few months.
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