Non-Tesla Electric Cars Can Now Charge For Free On Some European Tesla Superchargers

Cars

Published on September 13th, 2020 |
by Zachary Shahan

September 13th, 2020 by  


A rather surprising situation popped up in Europe this week. Historically, only Tesla vehicles have been able to charge at Tesla Superchargers. However, the European Commission got a bit antsy and — whiz, bang, boom — Supercharging has been opened up to the many electric car drivers in Europe who don’t have a T on their hoods.

Well, sort of.

First of all, let’s start with the tweet that caught my attention:

As the tweet notes, this is only a possibility at V3 (version 3) Tesla Superchargers. One of our writers, Maarten Vinkhuyzen, who owns a Renault Zoe in the Netherlands, did go test this out today and found he was able to Supercharge for free at the Apeldoorn-Oost Tesla Supercharger using the CCS plug there. He noted that only one of the stalls had this open charging option, and I think it’s probably the situation at every new V3 Tesla Supercharger that just one or two stalls are available for “outsiders.”

Also, it’s important to note that not all electric cars can use these chargers. Your car has to have a CCS2 charge port.

As to why this is happening, Twitter account @TeslaStars points out that, “This is due to a EU law that requires new charging stations to have at least 1 or 2 stalls compatible with any #EV.

TeslaStars has a number of other interesting thoughts in their tweetstorm about this. First of all, they remind us that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long been open to other automakers using Superchargers. These other automakers were just supposed to pay their fair share and design electric cars that were compatible with Superchargers. In Europe, however, Tesla itself had to switch to the CCS charging format the continent adopted. Then, the EU put forward this rule requiring that any new charging station be capable of charging new electric vehicles from any brand.

TeslaStars presumes that this “free for anyone” approach Tesla has launched so far is just an interim approach. If Tesla reworks its app a bit to let non-owners have an account, then it can charge them through the app. If Tesla does go that route, and I assume it will since it doesn’t want to give away free electricity forever (especially to non-Tesla drivers), then Tesla could open up all V3 charging stalls to other electric car drivers and could potentially make some decent revenue off of them.

As TeslaStars notes in more colorful language, there’s a problem across Europe (and the same is true in the US) that non-Tesla chargers are rather frequently out of service and are limited along critical routes anyway. Opening up Supercharger access to more drivers could definitely help accelerate the transition to zero-emissions electric vehicles and sustainable energy use.

Interestingly, as I got to the end of TeslaStars’ tweetstorm, I discovered that they also referenced a 2019 CleanTechnica article about standardizing EV charging in Europe. I recommend reading that excellent piece by Andy Miles to better understand the legislation, but one key point is that countries can make laws stricter than the EU-wide mandate. In other words, some countries could require Tesla to make every charging port compatible with other electric vehicles. We’ll see if any countries do get so bold and aggressive. In the meantime, though, many electric car drivers across Europe should be rejoicing right this morning and searching out V3 Tesla Superchargers near them or along routes they intend to travel.

This sure would have helped our Polish friends who recently drove a Porsche Taycan from Poland to Portugal and had quite a few problems charging along the way.

Below are a few videos of early test charging at now-open Tesla Superchargers. (Tip of the hat to TeslaStars, Drive Tesla Canada, and Chanan Bos for sharing — along with the people who created these videos.)

What do you think about this development? Will it stimulate a lot more electric vehicle sales in Europe? Will Tesla Superchargers get clogged with non-Tesla electric vehicles? How long will it take until Tesla is charging electric vehicle drivers to use its system? Will any countries pass especially stern EV charging station requirements? Also, I guess I could ask — do you think it was fair to make Tesla open up its Supercharger network, which the Silicon Valley company poured a lot of investment into and works hard to keep up and running reliably? 
 


 


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About the Author

is tryin’ to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao.

Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.