Biden’s $7.5 billion plan to build charging stations is becoming a new business opportunity for Tesla. In order to use government funds to build supercharging stations, Tesla is preparing to open up its own brand of superchargers to other electric vehicle brands on U.S. soil. Previously, Tesla has opened its own superchargers in some European countries, and in recent times has also increased the number of European countries with open superchargers to 13.
This pilot program officially launches as early as November 2021, and until then, Tesla Supercharging will not be available for all but Tesla-branded models.
For the open supercharging, Tesla CEO Musk previously said that Tesla is willing to continue to do the “right thing” in promoting electrification, although it will somewhat weaken Tesla’s competitive advantage. He also said that after Europe, he plans to try to open up the U.S. domestic Tesla supercharger network.
But details on that have been scarce for a year, and recent regulatory and other documents indicate that the company is applying for government funding that, if approved, would require it to open its network of charging posts to other electric car makers.
The Biden administration is planning to provide $7.5 billion to states to build charging stations, a sum included in the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by Congress last year, and states are scrambling to get ready to commit to a plan to build a national charging network.
In June, staff from the California Energy Agency proposed awarding Tesla $6.4 million to build charging stations in rural areas, according to grant documents. Other documents show that Tesla also applied for a charging post-grant in Texas last November, but was not awarded the funds, which were allocated to the first companies to apply.
Also according to a White House briefing released in late June, Tesla will “begin construction of new superchargers by the end of the year to enable non-Tesla electric vehicle owners in North America to use Tesla Superchargers.”
Musk: Plan to open charging stations to be extended globally
Most electric car owners charge for hours at home. Fast charging can fully charge an electric car in about 30 minutes. But according to government data, there are fewer than 5,000 places across the U.S. that have 10,000 (available to every car owner) fast chargers.
Tesla has been building its network of Superchargers for years, and so far the company has 1,440 stations and about 14,600 fast-charging posts.
Nick Nigro of Atlas public Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based research firm that tracks the electric vehicle market, said.
“They (Tesla) are going from being a ‘walled garden’ with total control of the environment to starting to serve the public.” “But if they see this as a good business opportunity, they’re in a good position to be a big provider of this service. They’re very good at building charging infrastructure.”
However, Tesla’s supercharging prices are also costly, with prices generally ranging from $2-$2.50 per kWh of charging.
In Europe, where Tesla charges non-Tesla owners more, people can only reduce costs by paying for subscriptions. In the U.S., Tesla will likely take the same steps, and different pricing levels are already common as charging companies now generally adopt a membership system.
In addition, Musk said on Twitter last year that the plan to open up charging stations would be rolled out globally over time.
No word yet on whether Tesla will open up supercharging in the Chinese market. Previously, there were also voices calling for Tesla to open up domestic supercharging stations, after all, Tesla’s supercharging is one of the largest and fastest charging networks owned by the country.