To tap U.S. government billions, Tesla must unlock EV chargers

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has often talked about opening his Supercharging network to competitors, but has never actually done so in the US, where the corporate dominates the electrical vehicle market.

Now, the brash CEO could have 7.5 billion reasons to speed up those plans.

The Department of Transportation next week is predicted to finalize a requirement that may pressure Tesla to expand beyond its proprietary charging equipment within the U.S. and add the charger utilized by its competitors, administration officials tell Reuters.

Otherwise, the carmaker might be disregarded of the $7.5 billion in subsidies flowing out of Washington, a part of President Joe Biden’s plan to blanket the nation with 500,000 EV chargers in the approaching years, up from 100,000 in 2021.

The network is a central a part of Biden’s plan to tackle climate change by converting 50% of all recent U.S. vehicle sales to electric by 2030. A dearth of chargers on U.S. roads has slowed the expansion of EV sales and the positive environmental impact, advocates say.

Because the U.S. pressure builds, there are many signs that Tesla is on the point of democratizing its network, regardless that Musk has denounced the federal government’s involvement before.

In January of last 12 months, Tesla wrote the Federal Highway Administration, offering the Biden administration suggestions on the way to shape the charging program. In Ohio, the corporate responded to a recent request that firms submit charging proposals, state officials told Reuters. In Arizona, the corporate told the state it was open to upgrading its chargers or constructing recent ones to fulfill the federal requirements, although a final decision was not made.

Musk met with White House officials last month in Washington D.C. Among the many items discussed was EV charging program, White House infrastructure czar Mitch Landrieu told reporters.

Musk, for his part, said in a July 2021 earnings call that the purpose of Tesla’s charging network was “to not create a walled garden and use that to bludgeon our competitors,” but has not publicly discussed plans for U.S. market changes. The corporate has opened up some Superchargers in Europe and Australia.

An email to Tesla and Musk was not returned.

State officials are optimistic.

“We do understand that Tesla is trying to tweak their system to be more open access. So, in the event that they do reach that time and meet those eligibility requirements, they actually might be eligible for funding,” said Stuart Anderson, the state of Iowa’s Transportation Development Division Director.


Tesla’s U.S. Supercharger network is commonly held up because the gold standard: fast, reliable, and plentiful, with about 40,000 chargers worldwide.

But for years, the network has been exclusive to Tesla owners, due to a plug that connects only to Tesla cars, meaning someone driving a Volkswagen, Ford, or Chevy vehicle wouldn’t have the option to make use of it.

Tesla drivers should buy an adapter to attach with the U.S. standard “Combined Charging System” or CCS chargers but individuals who don’t own a Tesla cannot do the identical with Superchargers.

Opening up its networks could grow a funding and revenue stream for Tesla, but could erode the brand’s exclusivity and make it difficult for the automaker to administer the network, analysts say.

“It’s definitely a balance for them: how much potential federal subsidies for expanding their network versus maintaining that competitive advantage on charging,” Chris Harto, a Senior Policy Analyst at Consumer Reports said.

The Department of Transportation next week will detail final requirements that each one electric vehicle chargers must meet to be eligible for funding under the $7.5 billion effort to impress highways and interstates across the nation. Those requirements will even touch on cybersecurity and the way much and what parts of the charger should be made in America.

Chargers looking for to turn into a part of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program must utilize a combined charging system, or CCS, the usual within the U.S. on nearly all charging stations except Tesla’s popular Superchargers.

The move to finalize so-called ‘minimum standards’ by the administration is predicted to unlock the primary wave of funding and set off fierce competition amongst firms like ChargePoint Holdings and (CHPT.N) and EVgo Inc (EVGO.O). For these small firms, it represents a generational opportunity.

Any charger that desires to be eligible for federal dollars could have to fulfill the CCS standard once the foundations are finalized next week, administration officials told Reuters.

Last 12 months, Tesla offered up one other idea. In its letter to the FHA, the corporate proposed that its Superchargers should qualify for rebates in the event that they are co-located with CCS chargers that work with competitors.

An administration official told Reuters that request was not seriously considered.

Recent Articles

Related Stories

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Get the daily news directly in your inbox