Mass excitement hit the internet recently when Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla would be making its Supercharger network available to other EVs "later this year". But let’s not jump to conclusions. He hasn’t said where yet.
Tesla CEO Musk has said more than once over the years that the Supercharger network is not a ‘walled garden’ so this isn’t a new development, although it does sound as though it may be nearer to happening in the UK than it was.
Prior to Musk’s tweet, an agreement had been made with Norway to open up the network there next year and Reuters has reported that talks are under way to do the same in Germany.
The UK is an ideal candidate, too. Unlike the US, where Tesla uses proprietary connectors, European Superchargers all have CCS connectors, which have pretty much become the standard for EVs capable of rapid DC charging.
Making them available in the UK wouldn’t, apparently, require any physical changes to the network. There may be some contractual wrangling involved on sites like motorway stations where other suppliers already have a deal but, technically, I’m assuming it should be straightforward.
What will the Teslarati think? I’m guessing they won't be overjoyed because, at the moment, they have exclusive use of a fairly underutilised network. On the regular long motorway trips I make, I often look longingly at the empty Supercharger bays going begging while sitting at a stone-dead Ecotricity charger wondering what to do next.
But to be fair, it’s always been Tesla’s mission "to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy", so if the time has come to share chargers, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. My north/south trips always involve the M6 (or I make sure they do) and I’ve already evolved a strategy for dodging the old Electric Highway chargers completely.
Relying on them just isn’t practical, as much in time spent faffing around for an alternative as the danger of getting stuck. There are visible signs that Gridserve is cracking on with the job of updating the motorway sites as promised, which is great. But it’s likely to take a while, and when Tesla does open up its UK sites to other EV users, I’ll be signing up like a shot.