Making EV Road Trips Easier
Tesla has dominated the electric car sales charts from the beginning, and one major reason is the company’s investment in charging infrastructure. Alongside building attractive, high-performance, long-range EVs, Tesla recognized that consumers would want easy access to charging infrastructure, particularly on longer drives. Its network of Tesla Superchargers across the U.S., and indeed around the world, is the envy of every other charging network – and a major reason that people choose Tesla over other brands. Now, though, Tesla is set to open up its Supercharger network to drivers of other EVs – making electric car ownership a bit easier and more convenient for everyone.
America isn’t the first location where other EVs can charge on Tesla’s network. In fact, over the last couple of years, the company has opened Supercharging to non-Tesla EVs in 15 European countries as well as Australia, making the U.S. the 17th market where such access is available. In those countries, Tesla vehicles are sold with an industry-standard CCS charging port, which is found on almost every other electric vehicle on the market. Recognizable by its shape, which is a circle with four pins above a pill shape with two pins, the CCS port is very different from the smaller charging connector Tesla installs on vehicles sold in the U.S.
Tesla’s Magic Dock
How, then, will Tesla enable other vehicles to use Superchargers, when they don’t have a Tesla charging port? Its solution is something called the Magic Dock, an adaptor built into the Supercharger unit that a user can unlock by initiating a charging session on a Tesla charging app. Enabled by the app, the Magic Dock fixes itself to the charging cable, meaning it can’t be easily stolen or forgotten. If a Tesla driver initiates a charging session, the dock remains attached to the frame of the Supercharger.
In order to access the Supercharger network, users will need to set up a Tesla account, and pay a fee of $12.99 per month for access to the network – on top of paying for their charging sessions. Charging on the Supercharger network certainly won’t be cheap, but DC fast charging on any network comes at a price premium – and Tesla has the most, and often the most conveniently-located, chargers out there. As the oldest and most developed fast-charging network, the company seems to have worked out most of the kinks in its infrastructure, providing EV drivers on long trips with reassurance and convenience.
Upgrades Will Run Through 2024
But don’t rush out and expect to plug in your EV at a Tesla Supercharger just yet. The company only recently announced the Magic Dock and non-Tesla pricing plan, and only a handful of Superchargers have been upgraded with the adaptor; the first one was seen in New York state at the beginning of March. Thousands of Superchargers across the country will not only require the adaptor, but also a longer cable which will let drivers of other EVs plug in (as all of Tesla’s charging ports are on the left-rear of the car, Superchargers have had very short cables up till now). The plan is for the network to be open to non-Tesla EVs by the end of 2024 – still almost two years away.