Tesla will open up at least 7,500 of its Superchargers to non-Tesla battery-electric vehicles as part of a deal with the Biden administration, a move expected to help boost demand for EVs and advance the president’s goal of having 500,000 public chargers in place by 2030.

Tesla’s been allowing non-Tesla vehicles to use its Superchargers in other countries. Now 7,500 will be available in the U.S.

Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO, previously expressed interest in opening up the automaker’s highly rated charging network last year. But while some Superchargers were made available to non-Tesla owners in Europe, the automaker has not followed up in the U.S., at least not until now. Overall, Tesla is estimated to have about 28,000 Superchargers in the U.S. currently.

The deal between Tesla and the Biden administration is part of the $7.5 billion plan included in a 2021 infrastructure bill. The administration also announced Wednesday that companies using federal funds to subsidize the installation of public chargers will have to use devices built in the United States.

Eliminating range anxiety

EV sales are growing rapidly — their share of the new vehicle market jumping from less than 1% in 2019 to more than 5% last year. But one of the key obstacles to broader acceptance is the lack of a viable charging network.

Where “range anxiety” was long the top concern for motorists, that’s becoming less of an issue as automakers bring out new models getting anywhere from 250 to 500 miles before needing to plug in again, said Jake Fisher, head of automotive testing for Consumer Reports.

“It’s really ‘charge anxiety’ now, not range anxiety,” Fisher told TheDetroitBureau.com in a telephone interview.

Potential EV buyers would be pretty happy to have access to a network of chargers that looks like this.

“Teslafor 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 White House said in a statement Wednesday morning.

“The open chargers will be distributed across the United States,” it added, noting,” 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.”

Gaining access to the Supercharger network means more than the numbers might suggest. Tesla’s chargers have a reputation for high reliability, in sharp contrast to the chargers operated by some competitors, such as EVgo and Electrify America.

Improving reliability

Some folks note that the current crop of EV charging stations have reliability issues.

A study released by the University of California Berkeley last year found that nearly a quarter of the public chargers in the San Francisco Bay Area were not functioning at any particular time. That is in line with reports from other parts of the country, Consumer Reports’ Fisher noting his own experiences with faulty chargers that have left him nearly stranded on several occasions.

Skeptics raised concerns about how fast Tesla will actually follow up on the deal it has reached with the White House, however. They noted how the automaker has repeatedly failed to meet promises, while also running well behind on a number of its deadlines. The Tesla Cybertruck, for example, is now about two years behind its original launch target. And the automaker has yet to meet its promises of delivering a true, hands-free driving system – despite last year doubling to $15,000 the price for the partially functional Full Self-Driving system.

Nonetheless, White House officials were upbeat about the prospects of making Tesla Superchargers universally available.

The administration’s goal is to create a charger network that “will work for everyone, everywhere, no matter what type of car or state they’re in,” said White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu.

It is not yet clear how opening the Supercharger network will be accomplished. Among other things, it is yet to be revealed if Tesla will add the widely used CCS charge connector or require owners of non-Tesla vehicles to provide their own adaptors for the automaker’s own, unique plug. It is also unclear if Tesla will charge a higher fee for non-Tesla vehicles using its network.

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