Last week, the White House announced a slate of private sector investments to expand electric vehicle charging accessibility across the United States. The $700 million in corporate commitments will complement $7.5 billion in federal funding from the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The administration stated the short-term objectives of its industry partners, but a promise made by Tesla has caught the eyes of many. The prominent American EV manufacturer has promised the Biden Administration that it will open its Supercharger network to non-Tesla EV owners later this year.
The White House Fact Sheet states, “Later this year, Tesla will begin production of new Supercharger equipment that will enable non-Tesla EV drivers in North America to use Tesla Superchargers.” There are currently over 1,100 Supercharger stations across the continent, so allowing their network to be open to everyone would dramatically transform charging accessibility.
While Tesla: had begun an open-access pilot of its Supercharger network in parts of Europe, many believed that it was still a long way away until a similar scheme happened in North America. Elon Musk has been vocally open over the past decade to sharing Tesla’s supercharger standard with other automakers and opening access to the network, but he had never really advanced past words until recently. And, this all goes without mentioning Musk’s turbulent relationship with President Joe Biden and the current White House administration.
The White House’s ultimate goal with its private-public initiative is to increase domestic manufacturing capacity to the point where 250,000 chargers are being built per year. For Tesla, its Supercharger network will advance past being a nice benefit for Tesla owners to being a real source of additional income and a vector to increase the customer base for all electric vehicles. An open-access Supercharger network will encourage more people to take the leap and buy their first EV. While their first electric car might not be a Tesla, they could buy a Tesla at some point in the future.