Elon Musk: Tesla to open up global charging network to other EVs later this year

Tesla will allow other electric vehicles to access its global network of chargers later this year, CEO Elon Musk tweeted Tuesday. The comment follows years of chatter by Musk that signaled the company was amenable to the idea.

Until now, there have never been any details about how or when the company would open up its Supercharger network of 25,000 chargers. Details are still slim. For instance, it’s unclear where it would initially open up, which automakers have reached agreements with Tesla and whether Tesla owners would get priority. However, Musk did finally attach a timeline of sorts by noting this would kick off before the end of 2021.

He later added in another tweet that its network would eventually be open to other EVs in every country that it has chargers. Tesla Superchargers are located in North America, Asia and Europe as well as Middle Eastern countries UAE and Israel.

Musk has talked about either sharing the technology behind his Tesla Superchargers or opening them up for use to other EVs for years now. Way back in 2014, Musk said he’d be willing to open up the designs in order to build a standard that can be used interchangeably across the industry. This would allow competing electric car models to charge up at the Supercharger network.

He has mentioned some version of this at various events and during earnings calls ever since. In 2018, Musk said in response to a question during an earnings call that the Supercharger network is not a walled garden, a reference meant to express that it is not designed to prevent other EVs from using it. However, it should be noted that Superchargers are not compatible to other EVs.

“We’ve always said that we’re — this is not intended to be a walled garden, and we’re happy to support other automakers and let them use our Supercharger stations,” Musk said in 2018. “They would just need to pay the share of the cost proportionate to their vehicle usage. And they would need to be able to accept our charge rate or at least — and our connector, at least have an adaptor to our connector. So this is something we’re very open to, but so far none of the other car makers have wanted to do this. But it’s like not because of opposition from us. This is not a walled garden.”

The two common connectors used for rapid charging are Combined Charging System (CCS) or CHAdeMO. CCS, a direct current connector that is an open international standard that in recent years has gained popularity in Europe and North America.

Tesla has its own connector, which means automakers would have to provide or sell an adapter to owners of its EVs to access the Supercharger network. It’s a different story in Europe. Tesla uses the CCS direct current connector in Europe, making this the most likely region for Tesla to open up first.