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Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
3/1/23 11:53 a.m.

First heard about it on social media, but I thought it'd be worth sharing with everyone else since–if you're anything like me–the current state of charging infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired.

This article seems to do a decent job of explaining how it works:

Tesla officially opens Superchargers to non-Tesla EV owners in the US and explains how it works

TL;DR:

Non-Tesla EV owners simply have to download the Tesla app, create an account, add a credit card for payment, and then they can roll up to some of the select few Supercharger stations now equipped with a Magic Dock – primarily in New York for now.

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
3/1/23 11:56 a.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

Not that simple is it?   Don't you need an adapter to make your Chevy Bolt or Ford take the charge?     What does an adaptor cost?  

mattm
mattm Reader
3/1/23 12:00 p.m.
frenchyd said:

In reply to Colin Wood :

Not that simple is it?   Don't you need an adapter to make your Chevy Bolt or Ford take the charge?     What does an adaptor cost?  

No adapter needed. These super chargers have a CSS adapter for the native Tesla NACS cable built into the supercharger. Multiple videos on YouTube already showing this. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
3/1/23 12:07 p.m.

In reply to mattm :

Thanks.  I wasn't aware.  

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia UberDork
3/1/23 12:32 p.m.

I think it's only a small percentage of Superchargers that will be open to everyone , 

At least that's what the radio report said.....

Are the Tesla owners going to be pissed off that they will now have to wait longer to recharge ?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
3/1/23 12:56 p.m.

(speaking about the US specifically)

It's not a matter of flipping a switch, it's a hardware change. Only the newest v3 chargers can charge CCS, so only the newest stations have the ability to charge non-Teslas and they have to have the "magic dock" retrofit.

There will undoubtedly be some pissy Tesla owners, but probably not once they realize that it's not an instant global change for all chargers. Talking to a friend who works on the energy side of Tesla, he's pretty confident they can continue to build the network faster than new cars are added to the fleet.

This also allows Tesla to get some of the grant money going into the charging infrastructure build-out. And given that they can apparently build charging stations for about 1/5 of what the other networks can do AND they seem to be the only ones who actually maintain them once they're installed, this is good for everyone.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
3/1/23 2:06 p.m.

I know it'll likely be years before most of the country's Superchargers can offer non-Tesla charging, but I'd like to think it's a step in the right direction.

Rons
Rons HalfDork
3/1/23 2:16 p.m.

Those in the commercial real estate world may chime in, but there is a possibility that land owners are pushing back on Tesla only chargers. Perhaps messaging is going out such as no single mark chargers, or you don't get prime real estate.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
3/1/23 2:30 p.m.

Far more likely it's the fact that they can't get grant money unless they support CCS. There's a lot of money being funneled into building out the charging network and while Tesla has paid for the Superchargers itself, it would be foolish not to take a piece of that. Opens up a much bigger pool of customers too and benefits EV adoption overall.

It's definitely a step in the right direction. The only losers are the charging networks that have feeding at the trough with no long term plan to support customers.

Boost_Crazy
Boost_Crazy Dork
3/1/23 9:22 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Far more likely it's the fact that they can't get grant money unless they support CCS. There's a lot of money being funneled into building out the charging network and while Tesla has paid for the Superchargers itself, it would be foolish not to take a piece of that. Opens up a much bigger pool of customers too and benefits EV adoption overall.

It's definitely a step in the right direction. The only losers are the charging networks that have feeding at the trough with no long term plan to support customers.

I'm curious what this will do to the level 3 charger market. Everyone else's chargers are very expensive. I've heard- probably here- that Tesla's Superchargers are quite a bit less than a comparable Level 3, but couldn't find much info. It also appears that Tesla doesn't sell them, but installs- maintains- runs them themselves? So I'm not sure if the price comparison is accurate? 

All of the other manufacturers have a different business model. They sell the equipment. Some sell software, others require 3rd party software. But I don't think any of them generate revenue based off of the electricity sales, they leave that up to the owner. So it's kind of like Tesla runs their own "gas stations" while the others just sell the "gas pumps." I'm working on a large EV charging station project now, so I'm curious how this will play out long term. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
3/1/23 9:32 p.m.

EA doesn't operate their own chargers and network? 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
3/1/23 10:01 p.m.

Or do you mean that the network operators are not the ones building the chargers, except for Tesla? That makes sense, Musk is a big believer in vertical integration and you see it at both Tesla and SpaceX. Meanwhile, the others are likely more like Shell or Pilot, they buy the pump from someone else  and run the station.

But it's not the charger manufacturers that are getting the grant money directly, it's the network operators. And, I assume, some independent charging stations like stadiums. Although most of them are going to be doing L2. 

newold_m (Forum Supporter)
newold_m (Forum Supporter) Reader
3/2/23 3:59 a.m.
Erich
Erich UberDork
3/2/23 7:38 a.m.

One thing about the Superchargers is that they're explicitly designed for Teslas, which all have their charge port on the driver's rear of the vehicle. The cord on a supercharger is only long enough to accommodate a Tesla, backed in. 

If a row of Teslas are charging and there's one space in the middle, for example, and your vehicle has the charge port on the front driver side or rear passenger side, you won't be able to get the remaining plug to reach your vehicle. 

For example, in the photo below there's an open Supercharger on the far left. It would only reach in this situation if your charge port is on the driver's rear like a Tesla, or the passenger front. A Hyundai owner wouldn't be able to charge, adapter or no. My BMW wouldn't either. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
3/2/23 9:18 a.m.

I expect that longer cords will very quickly become part of the Magic Dock retrofit due to the greater variation in charge port position. Heck, we have the same problem with gas pumps :)

Boost_Crazy
Boost_Crazy Dork
3/2/23 1:15 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

All of the other manufacturers that I'm familiar with just sell the equipment to the end user. By network I mean the card readers/apps. Each property owner can set them up as they please depending on the application. A retail location might offer free charging for a set length of time to attract shoppers. An employer may grant access to their employees. A fleet location may just need to control access with no billing. A "gas station" style location would charge for the electricity provided, and the owner sets the price, not the manufacturer. I don't think any of the other manufacturers are in the energy selling business. 

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE SuperDork
3/2/23 1:27 p.m.

There was a posting recently- maybe off reddit?- where they were installing one in DC and spoke to a rando who was pulling up to charge. The installers with Tesla were using a Rivian to test the charger. Seemed like there was an "outlet" of a Tesla plug on the charger, then a detachable cable off of it that terminates in a CCS. I hope to watch some videos later about it.

I wonder what Tesla does that keeps their chargers in so much better condition than say, Electrify America? I guess we'd have to chase down an electrical engineer that's worked for both to ask why.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
3/2/23 1:34 p.m.
Boost_Crazy said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

All of the other manufacturers that I'm familiar with just sell the equipment to the end user. By network I mean the card readers/apps. Each property owner can set them up as they please depending on the application. A retail location might offer free charging for a set length of time to attract shoppers. An employer may grant access to their employees. A fleet location may just need to control access with no billing. A "gas station" style location would charge for the electricity provided, and the owner sets the price, not the manufacturer. I don't think any of the other manufacturers are in the energy selling business. 

Ah, so you're looking at it from the viewpoint of an independent charging station looking to buy actual chargers, not a network like EA or Chargepoint or EVgo. Telsa is operating more in that space. I don't think Tesla is looking at selling L3 to those independents, but they'll happily sell you a 11.5 kW L2 charger. That's suitable for fleet use where the fleet is parked overnight, but it's not going to work as a high speed gas station replacement. I know they do have "urban" chargers that are about 75 kW for use at retail locations - too fast a charging speed is actually a problem there, because your car is done before you are.

Electrify America is actually a VW subsidiary, so they're in the energy selling business.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
3/2/23 1:36 p.m.
GIRTHQUAKE said:

There was a posting recently- maybe off reddit?- where they were installing one in DC and spoke to a rando who was pulling up to charge. The installers with Tesla were using a Rivian to test the charger. Seemed like there was an "outlet" of a Tesla plug on the charger, then a detachable cable off of it that terminates in a CCS. I hope to watch some videos later about it.

I wonder what Tesla does that keeps their chargers in so much better condition than say, Electrify America? I guess we'd have to chase down an electrical engineer that's worked for both to ask why.

That's basically what the "magic plug" is. It's a Telsa-to-CCS adapter that's docked in the charger until it's needed.

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE SuperDork
3/2/23 2:14 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Ah, thanks! Also shows that all the magic is in the inverter itself and the communication protocol, and the charger plug is really just that.

Erich
Erich UberDork
3/2/23 4:10 p.m.

The great thing about Supercharging is that it communicates automagically with the owner and there's no app required. You just pull up, plug in, and it works. 

Unfortunately third parties don't have that seamless charging functionality so if you want to charge your Hyundai at a Supercharger you'll need to use the Tesla app, and it likely will take a bit longer to start the charging process. 

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE SuperDork
3/2/23 4:39 p.m.

I imagine soon they'll also ask what car you drive, so settings can be refined more for your charging speed before you arrive.

In reply to newold_m (Forum Supporter) :

Okay, just watched it- that plug converter is trick, but I doubt they can just "make cables longer" due to resistive heat. I imagine that charging stations will have more pull-throughs as that one Model 3 owner pointed out, both to get around short lengths but also to allow for the oncoming cybertruck to charge if its trying to pull something.

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
3/2/23 5:01 p.m.
GIRTHQUAKE said:

I imagine soon they'll also ask what car you drive, so settings can be refined more for your charging speed before you arrive.

In reply to newold_m (Forum Supporter) :

Okay, just watched it- that plug converter is trick, but I doubt they can just "make cables longer" due to resistive heat. I imagine that charging stations will have more pull-throughs as that one Model 3 owner pointed out, both to get around short lengths but also to allow for the oncoming cybertruck to charge if its trying to pull something.

They can make the cables longer, but if they do, they'll likely have to get thicker, heavier, stiffer, and more unweildy in the process.  Or provide it as an extension cable and limit the maximum charge rate a bit when the extension is in use. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
3/2/23 5:28 p.m.

The cables are watercooled, so they might be able to go a little longer. Definitely a problem that needs to be solved, though.

FAQ on the Tesla site: https://www.tesla.com/support/non-tesla-supercharging

One thing I have confirmed with some people on the software side of Tesla - their superchargers default to charging the car unless they're told not to. I suspect a very large number of the charging problems with other networks are communication related, and if they can't confirm payment (or whatever) then they will not start charging. Since Tesla defaults the other way, they will continue to work even if they can't authenticate. Basically, charging the car is the first priority and taking payment is the second.

Will this continue to be the case with non-Tesla vehicles where the authentication comes from the app and not the car shaking hands with the charger? I don't know.

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
3/2/23 6:29 p.m.

I have confirmation that Telsas will charge no matter what - the posts default to "charge the car" until told otherwise.

Non-Telsas have to unlock the post via the app. I'm guessing you can't get the adapter out unless you've authenticated, which is logical. Those who have tried it say it's very fast and easy.

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