Could federal funds open the Tesla Supercharger network to other EVs in the US?

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Tesla wants a piece of the federal funding set to be released for EV charging, and it\’s willing to open up its Supercharger DC fast-charging network to do it.

The automaker made that proposal in comments (first spotted by E&E News) submitted to the Federal Highway Administration on how to spend $7.5 billion earmarked for a national EV charging network as part of the infrastructure law passed late last year.

Tesla has taken steps to open the Supercharger network to cars from other automakers in Europe. It started a pilot program in the Netherlands in late 2021, enabling Combined Charging Standard (CCS) connectors it had installed at 10 Supercharger sites. In January, Tesla expanded availability to cars from other automakers in France and Norway.

Tesla Supercharger V3 station – Las Vegas Strip

This isn\’t the first hint that Tesla intends to do the same in the U.S., but the automaker\’s proposal appears to ask for funding in return—for the existing Tesla-only Supercharger connectors, as well as the CHAdeMO connectors used by a dwindling number of EVs such as the Nissan Leaf, as long as they\’re co-located with CCS connectors.

\”Tesla or CHAdeMO connectors should be eligible for rebates as long as there is a CCS connector at the location for every rebated Tesla or CHAdeMO connector,\” the automaker said.

That could prove to be a sticking point. While Tesla sells a lot of EVs, most new models are expected to use CCS. The infrastructure law is also meant to fund new charging infrastructure, not reimburse operators for opening up existing charging stations.

Tesla Supercharger V3 station – Las Vegas Strip

It\’s also easier for Tesla to develop cross-compatibility in Europe because the automaker has been developing its network there around CCS, which didn\’t exist when Tesla started building out the U.S. Supercharger network.

CEO Elon Musk last year suggested that Tesla would bill at a higher rate for EVs that charge too slowly—and thus take up charge stalls for longer periods.

On the other hand, cooperation between Tesla and the federal government could help speed the development of a national charging network for all EVs. Real estate is one of the biggest obstacles to growing charging infrastructure; Tesla adding CCS and CHAdeMO connectors to its existing sites could provide a shortcut.

Tesla Supercharger

It\’s also worth noting that Tesla\’s proprietary Supercharger standard cuts both ways. There are few charging opportunities for Teslas outside the Supercharger network. A few stations from EVgo are the exception.

The Biden administration earlier this month announced that it\’s now up to states to submit plans for federally funded EV infrastructure so, Tesla or not, things may look a bit fragmented for a time.

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