The news that Tesla officially allows other electric vehicle makers to charge on its Supercharger network is just a few hours old, but we’ve already gone out to one of the 10 Superchargers that are enabled to give our little Chevy Bolt some Tesla juice. Here’s how it went.
The station in Brewster, New York, is about 30 miles from my house, and unfortunately I had pretty close to a full charge on the Bolt when the news came out. That means when I arrived at the station, I was still close to 80% full even after driving fast. So I wouldn’t get to see what the full charging curve/experience would be like.
Also, there was only one other Tesla charging at the station. That way I didn’t feel bad about blocking other potential users from using the station.
The Chevy Bolt has its charger port on the front driver side vs. the Tesla, which has it at the rear driver’s side. That means when I pull in, I have to pull into the spot forward and I’m actually taking the spot next to where a Tesla would charge, effectively using two spots. Like I said, there was only one car there so I didn’t try the end chargers.
Before initiating a charge, I made sure the cable would be long enough to reach the Bolt charger, and even though it was a farther reach than a Tesla is, it still reached with relative ease.
There’s a new tab in the Tesla app called “Charge your Non-Tesla,” and within that you will see a map of nearby chargers. Once you are at the charger, it asks you which stall you are at, and once entered, you are ready to charge.
Once you initiate, you will hear a click in the Magic Dock, and you can pull out the charger with the adapter. It isn’t yet super easy to pull out the adapter; it takes some umph. Plugging in, you’d think was relatively simple, but I had some residual snow leftover from last night’s snowstorm that prevented the charger from going in easily. I also tried a few stalls, and after some finagling, I got the charge initiated.
Since I was already at 80% charge on the Chevy Bolt, I only got about 24kW of charging speed, which is sadly normal for the Bolt, especially in cold conditions. Other EVs will charge much faster.
Because I still have hundreds of thousands of referral SuperCharger miles, I hoped this visit would be free. No such luck. Tesla charged me $1.47 for 3kWh of power.
This is a huge day for EV charging in the US. With the flip of a switch, Tesla has now enabled almost every EV to get the type of charging experience they deserve. Hopefully more and more stations come online soon.
There are still a lot of questions to be answered, like parking etiquette, which stations will allow non-Tesla EV charging, how much it will cost, and how fast they will fill up. For now, however, we were successful in getting the small step of Supercharger power for our Chevy Bolt, which is a giant leap for EV adoption.
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