Some of you may have read a previous blog where I asked, “Is this the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?”.  I must say it feels like the beginning of the end to me.  I’ve driven anywhere I want for over 4 years in my Tesla and have never waited or stressed about fast charging on the road.  My non-Tesla friends will tell you a different story.  One of wait times, non-working equipment and general planning complexity for longer drives in their EVs.  Starting last month, this began to end for certain automakers.   

Let’s back up a little to last year when the automaker dominoes began to fall.  In May of 2023, Ford stunned the car making world by agreeing to a deal with Tesla to allow drivers of Ford EVs to access the Tesla nationwide fast charging network.  Then, one by one every other automaker, except Mitsubishi, signed a similar deal to allow their customers the same access.  This order is important because access to the Tesla fast charging network seems directly correlated to when they signed up. 

So far, only Ford and then Rivian customers have been allowed access.  Tesla has provided adapters to these automakers and then their customers can order one for free.  In Ford’s case, adapters will be provided to existing drivers for a few months and then be available for purchase.  Rivian is basically proving 1 per VIN after you opt-in via email.  In all future EV models, built in 2025 or later, the Tesla charge port will become standard equipment and the adapter will no longer be necessary. 

The fast-charging process seems to be the same as I’ve experienced in my Model 3.  Drivers access their main vehicle screen to locate available charging stations, and these will now include Tesla.  Click on the one you want to visit, and your vehicle GPS will guide you there.  Importantly, this will allow your battery to pre-condition on the way.  Once at the station, simply add the adapter to the charging cable and plug it into your EV.  You will be billed automatically through your Ford or Rivian account.  Drivers will also have an option to open a Tesla account and pay for the charge through that app.  Here, you might consider a Tesla Supercharging Membership which offers drivers a lower per kilowatt hour price for electricity.  This Tesla subscription will cost you $12.99 a month. 

Only eligible EVs will be allowed to charge.  As other automakers are approved that access list will grow.  Also, not all Tesla stations will be available.  Only their Version 3 and 4 level stations will have that ability, but these are the newer and faster charging units.  In total, this means that over 15,000 more fast chargers will now be available to EV drivers under the Tesla agreement. 

One potential problem will exist due to different charge port locations on each EV.  The Tesla network was initially built with a standard driver’s side rear port.  Some other EVs with different charge port locations will by necessity have to take up two parking spots to properly access existing Tesla stations.  Solutions like different charger base orientations and longer charge cords are being proposed.  Tesla is also expanding their charging network to accommodate the additional demand.  Until then, we will all have to just get along and be patient. 

From what I’ve read, it looks like GM, Volvo and Polestar are next up in the access queue.  As I said at the start of this blog, for these early access EV drivers it will seem like the beginning of the end to frustration and inconvenience during long distance travel.   

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and drive!  I’ll look for you at the Superchargers… 

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