Tesla’s move to open its Supercharger network to non-Tesla electric car owners is splitting the Tesla owner community in two, with some owners being upset and feeling that it will negatively affect their ownership experience.
But the move is 100% aligned with Tesla’s mission.
We knew it was coming for a while, but it’s now finally official and happening soon.
Both Tesla and the White House have confirmed that the automaker will soon start to open “select” Supercharger stations to non-Tesla EV owners in the US and plans to double the size of its network to make 7,500 Superchargers available to all EVs by the end of 2024.
The Supercharger network is widely recognized as the best DC fast-charging network in the world, and the difference with other networks is even more pronounced in the US.
For a long time, it has been considered one of Tesla’s competitive advantages, or moats, and the biggest reason to buy a Tesla over other electric vehicles, as the network easily enables long-distance driving without friction.
Other networks are not only less extensive with fewer stations and fewer chargers per station, but they are also notorious for being unreliable with chargers that don’t always work.
Now that Tesla is opening the Supercharger network to other electric vehicles, Tesla owners are a bit divided on the issue with some owners being upset about the move.
Since the announcement yesterday, we received several emails from Tesla owners who believe that onboarding more vehicles will negatively affect their experience by increasing traffic at Supercharger stations.
Additionally, some Tesla investors are not happy about the move since they believe it will negatively affect Tesla’s business by removing the Supercharger network as a moat and making non-Tesla EVs more attractive, as they will also be able to use the network.
One Tesla owner went as far as claiming that it’s not fair since early Tesla owners paid for Tesla’s deployment of the network while non-Tesla EV owners didn’t.
The owner in question sent us the following email:
Money does not come out of thin air. To build Tesla’s charging network, the money had to come from increasing the cost of the car. With Tesla opening access to its charging network to non-Tesla owners, that means I paid extra for my Tesla to access the charging network so that others could have access for free. Since I paid extra so non Tesla owners can access the network for free, I believe Tesla should provide some type of rebate to Tesla owners.
However, the majority of Tesla owners and Tesla fans appear to be on board with the move since it aligns with Tesla’s mission, which is to accelerate the advent of electric transportation and renewable energy.
The automaker, and specifically CEO Elon Musk, always made it clear that it would consider the mission a success if it can not only contribute directly to accelerating that goal but also indirectly by forcing the rest of the auto industry to move to electric vehicles.
I understand the concern about having more traffic at Supercharger stations, especially considering that some are already overcrowded on busy travel days, and that’s a real problem.
But Tesla is going to do it like it did in Europe, meaning the change will happen gradually while monitoring the usage to avoid overloading the network.
Meanwhile, the move will also enable Tesla to access billions of dollars in incentives to deploy more stations and increase network capacity for both Tesla owners and non-Tesla owners.
As for the business standpoint, it’s true that it will remove a competitive advantage for Tesla and make competing EVs more attractive now that they can use the Supercharger network. But it will also boost its energy business, which I think the Supercharger network will be folded into because like Tesla Energy, or Tesla Electric, it is technically selling electricity.
Tesla could become the biggest charging network operator in the world as electric vehicles take over. I can see a future where the Tesla Supercharger network is bringing in billions of dollars a year in revenue just by selling electricity to all electric vehicles.
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