Roadmap 2024: Tesla Speedy Superchargers to All EVs

Roadmap 2024: Tesla Speedy Superchargers to All EVs

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Yesterday, among other things, the White House announced that by the end of 2024, Tesla would open part of its US Supercharger and Destination Charger network to non-Tesla EVs and build significantly more charging stations that support all EVs.

Below is the portion of the announcement.

Tesla, for the first time, will open a portion of its U.S. Supercharger and Destination Charger network to non-Tesla EVs, making at least 7,500 chargers available for all EVs by the end of 2024. The open chargers will be distributed across the United States. They will include at least 3,500 new and existing 250 kW Superchargers along highway corridors to expand freedom of travel for all EVs, and Level 2 Destination Charging at locations like hotels and restaurants in urban and rural locations. All EV drivers will be able to access these stations using the Tesla app or website. Additionally, Tesla will more than double its full nationwide network of Superchargers, manufactured in Buffalo, New York.

And overall, that’s great news.

However, the devil is in the details, and things will get quite complicated for both Tesla and non-Tesla drivers, at least initially. The move to ectrictification is still early, and we have a long way to go.

Existing Supercharger stations are designed to handle only Teslas.

Existing Tesla Superchargers: Excellent yet near-sighted design

While Tesla drivers generally can get their cars charged at any non-Tesla Level-3 DC charger simply by using a CCS-to-Tesla adapter, the other way around won’t be that simple. Getting a Tesla-to-CSS adapter is just a small part of the process.

EV Charging levels in brief

Currently, there are two charming connection standards for EVs, including Combined Charging System (CCS) and Tesla as shown in the photos below.

CCS to car charging connectorTesla to car charging connector
EV charging: The CCS to-car connector vs the Tesla counterpart.

And there are three EV charging levels. The tabs below contain their brief information.

Level 1 EV Charging: 120V (up to ≈ 15 A)

  • Electricity: Alternating current (AC).
  • To-car connectors: J1772, Tesla.
  • Charging rate: 3 to 5 Miles Per Hour ( 1.5 kW).
  • Applicability: Home or anywhere with a 120V wall socket.
Tesla Slow Charging
Level-1 charging is when you plug an EV directly into a 120V wall socket. It’s slow but enough for most users in overnight charging.

Level 1 charging is the lowest and, in the US, generally means you plug the car directly into a 120V outlet using the car’s default (often included) portable charger, technically called electric vehicle service equipment or EVSE.

There are also third-party portable chargers. While varying in design, costs, and possibly quality, all chargers will work with all EVs, it’s just a matter of getting the right adapter when necessary.

Apart from the 120V socket, most level-1 chargers generally also work with 240V sockets to deliver faster Level-2 charging speed.

Until April 17, 2022, Tesla included the Mobile Connector with its cars. It’s the company’s default Level-1 Charger.

Level 2 EV Charging: Up to 240 V (up to ≈ 80 A)

  • Electricity: Alternating current (AC).
  • To-car connectors: J1772, Tesla.
  • Charging rate: Up to 80 Miles per Hour ( 20 kW).
  • Applicability: Home or anywhere with a 240V wall socket or a charging station.
Charging Station
Here’s an example of a third-party home Level-2 charging station. It belongs to my neighbor, who owns a Polstar, but I can plug my Model Y in via an adapter.

Level-2 charging is the fastest option you can install at home. It requires new wiring.

At the minimum, in the US, you’ll need a separate breaker for a 240V outlet — similar to that of an oven or dryer. Most EVs’ included portable chargers work with both 240V and 120V outlets via interchangeable to-wall adapters.

If you want to get a charging station, such as the Tesla Wall Charger, new wiring is required. This type of charger must be wired directly into a 240V breaker and won’t work with any socket.

Level 2 can deliver between 15 A to 80 A of electrical flow and can give an EV up to 80 miles in an hour of charging through 60 miles/hour is common.

Level 3 EV Charging: At least 400 V

  • Electricity: Direct current (DC).
  • To-car connectors: Combined Charging System (CCS) and Tesla
  • Charging rate: at least 3 miles per minute, up to over a thousand miles per hour.
  • Applicability: Public charging station
Tesla SuperCharger
Tesla Supercharger is a prime example of Level-3 EV charging. This charger is rated at 250 kW and can fill a Tesla battery from 20% to 80% in less than 10 minutes.

Level 3 charging equals “gas stations” for EVs — it’s the fastest charging option.

In the US, most, if not all, non-Tesla Level-3 charging stations use the CCS connector, which encompasses the J1772 connector.

Level 3 charging uses direct current (DC) instead of alternating current (AC), like in the case of Levels 1 and 2. Each charger costs tens of thousands of dollars. That’s not to mention the electricity cost.

Until Tesla opens up its Superchargers to all EVS, only Tesla drivers need to get an adapter to get their car juiced up at a non-Tesla charger. There are two adapters as shown in the photos below.

CSS Combo 1 AdapterSAE J1772 Charging Adapter
EV charging: Here are the CSS1 vs J1772 converters for Tesla. The latter (included with most Mobile Connector packages) can only handle Level 2 or slower charging. The former supports all three charging levels and works instead of the J1772. Most new EVs from any car maker (except Tesla) use CCS as the combo port for fast and slow charging.

That’s because Tesla makes the Superchargers only with its vehicle in mind and, even so, without a well-thought-out design.

The super-short charging cord and non-drive-through design

All Tesla cars have a charging port at the same location — on the driver’s side toward the back. And the Superchargers are made to accommodate that design — its charging cord is long enough just for that.

Tesla Supercharger Car with Tow Hitch DilemaTesla Supercharger Car with Tow Hitch
At first sight, you might think this driver is just uncool. But looking closer, you won’t blame him.

So you back your Tesla a charger, plug the cord in, and you’re done. And the majority of the time, that works perfectly.

However you tow a trailer or even have a hitch rack with a couple of bicycles, you’ll find that the cord is too short. In this case, there’s no way to get charged without removing stuff from the car’s back.

Non-Tesla EVs with their charging ports located all over the cars. So opening up Superchargers to them will turn the Supercharing charging station into a serious mess of car parking whichever way blocking adjacent chargers near the one being used.

And the whole station will be worsened by the charging stalls.

All gas stations use the drive-through design allowing cars to be refilled in an orderly fashion. Superchargers use the parking stall design — likely to accommodate the expected long charging time.

This design can cause traffic issues during high usage since vehicles need extra maneuvering to get in and out. This, plus the short charging cord, can turn a Supercharging station chaotic when few non-Tesla EVs are involved.

EV Side Charging PortEV Front Charging Port
Non-Tesla EVs have charging ports at random places around the body, and many will have difficulty getting plugged into existing Superchargers.

All hours will be peak hours

So, it’s safe to say most Tesla owners won’t be happy sharing Superchargers with other car brands.

Currently, during off-peak hours when the cost of charging is slow, you can already find long lines at Tesla charging stations in big cities. That’s only going to get worse.

Folks who have bought Teslas thinking that comes with the “privilege” of using the Superchargers will be frustrated. Personally, the idea of having to wait to get my Model Y charged at a Supercharger during a trip is quite off-putting.

During times of high demand, Tesla limited the charge a car can take to increase turnover, effectively increasing how frequently the EV needs to get charged during a long trip.

And ultimately, that’d make all hours at the charging station peak hours. You’ll have to pay more in getting charged, via wait time, or both.

Charging at home is the best

It’s worth noting that the charging issues mentioned above are only applicable to public charging.

Owning an EV generally means you’ll charge it mostly at home — the most convenient and cheapest option — and nothing will change on this front.

Tesla to J1772 Adapter
A typical Tesla to J1772 adapter for charging a non-Tesla using a home or Destination Tesla charger

Home charging uses only Level-1 or Level-2 charging, and if you want to plug a non-Tesla vehicle into a Tesla charger, all you need is a Tesla-to-J17772 adapter.

The takeaway

This development is excellent news for non-Tesla EV drivers in the US. Overnight, they will get more than double the possibility of getting charged throughout the country.

And for Tesla drivers, once the whining is over, they’ll realize that they’ve already gotten it both ways for a long time — all Teslas can be charged at non-Tesla chargers. It’s only fair to share and, most importantly, to realize that Teslas are just vehicles — you’re not riding on the extension of Elon Musk’s ego.

Ultimately, everything is in implementation. Hopefully, new charging stations, Tesla or not, will use a more accommodating design that works for all vehicles of different shapes and charging port locations. Who knows, Tesla might even retrofit its existing facilities with longer charging cords.

Eventually, we’ll get to the point where getting charged on the road is a non-issue, just like getting an ICE car’s gas tank filled. It’s only a matter of time.

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