Tesla to Open Some Superchargers to Rivals After U.S. EV Charging Network Rules

The Biden administration issued a long-awaited final rules on national electric vehicle (EV) charging network that require chargers to be built in the United States immediately and with 55% of their cost coming from domestically made components by 2024. The rules set a $7.5 billion federal funding for companies, which must also adopt the dominant U.S. standard for charging connectors, known as “Combined Charging System” (CCS) and use standardized payment options that are smartphone friendly. The administration’s target to give consumers unfettered access to the country’s network of EV charging stations will include Tesla’s SuperChargers. The EV maker will open part of its charging network to rival cars as part of the federal program.

While the move could turn Tesla into the universal charging station, it could also cause it to lose its competitive advantage as it has exclusive access to the biggest network of high-speed Superchargers in the U.S.

By late 2024, Tesla would open 3,500 new and existing Superchargers along highway corridors to non-Tesla customers. It would also offer 4,000 slower chargers at locations like hotels and restaurants.

Biden wrote on Twitter that the plan to open a “big part” of Tesla’s network to all drivers was a “big deal” and would “make a big difference.”

In response, Tesla Chief Executive Musk said, “Thank you, Tesla is happy to support other EVs via our Supercharger network.”

Tesla will be eligible for a subsidy, including retrofitting its existing vehicles, as long as it allows other vehicles using the CCS.

The administration said Tesla had not committed to adopting CCS as its standard, but it must comply with the requirements to qualify for federal funds.

Tesla has 17,711 Superchargers, accounting for about 60% of total U.S. fast chargers, which can add hundreds of miles of driving range in an hour or less. There are also nearly 10,000 “destination” chargers with Tesla plugs that can recharge a vehicle overnight.

Opening up access to Tesla’s network could be key for the Biden administration as it targets 500,000 EV charges across the country by 2030, up from 130,000 currently.

“Select Tesla Superchargers across the US will soon be open to all EVs” Tesla wrote on Twitter, without elaborating on when, where and how it would open its chargers. It had already planned to more than double its U.S. Supercharger network by the end of 2024.

Investors and U.S. EV owners have been waiting for action on chargers from Musk, who said in 2021 that the point of his charging network was “not to create a walled garden and use that to bludgeon our competitors.” Some of the company’s Superchargers in Europe and Australia have been open to non-Tesla EV owners since 2021.

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