Electric cars other than those made by Tesla will be able to use the firm's Supercharger network from later this year, CEO Elon Musk has said.
The network - which consists of 2500 stations with 25,000 charging points worldwide, including more than 600 across the UK and Ireland - is currently exclusive to Tesla drivers.
Opening these up to all brands would represent a significant boost for EV drivers. Zap-Map estimates that only 1137 of the near-25,000 charging devices in the UK are capable of ‘ultra-rapid’ rates of 100kW or more.
“We created our own connector, as there was no standard back then and Tesla was only maker of long-range electric cars,” Musk wrote on Twitter. “It’s one fairly slim connector for both low and high-power charging. That said, we’re making our Supercharger network open to other EVs later this year.”
Asked if the network would be open to all EVs in specific territories, Musk replied: “Over time, all countries.”
While Musk has a habit of making impromptu announcements on Twitter, his tweets are often taken with a pinch of salt. In 2019, he and Tesla were each forced to pay a $20 million fine by the US Securities and Exchange Commission after he falsely claimed that he had “funding secured” to take the company private, damaging investors.
The deal with the SEC compelled him to step down as Tesla chairman for at least three years and his tweets regarding the company now have to be pre-approved – although the regulator believes the latter term has been broken at least twice, according to documents recently seen by the Wall Street Journal.
In any case, Musk’s latest claims don’t go into detail about the difficulties of opening up the Supercharger network to all electric cars. In the UK, Superchargers offer both Type 2 (for the Model S and Model X) and CCS connectors (for the Model 3), but charging points in the US would need an adapter.
The move could also prove unpopular with Tesla owners, who view the exclusive Supercharger network as a key benefit of buying one of the American manufacturer's cars.
There’s also the issue of pricing: certain Teslas can use the Supercharger network for free, while others are charged a rate of 28p per kWh after exhausting an annual allowance of 400kWh.
It’s not clear if non-Tesla drivers would be charged more or if they would be entitled to the same charging speeds of up to 250kW that equate to 1000 miles of range per hour on some models.