Tesla could open its UK network of Superchargers to owners of other EVs ‘within weeks’, the Transport Minister has said.
Trudy Harrison told EV website Electrifying.com that the US firm “recognises it is part of the solution” to the need for a rapid increase in public charger availability. She said the change could come “within weeks and months rather than years”.
Tesla’s Superchargers are currently only accessible to owners of Tesla models but CEO Elon Musk has previously said he intends to open the network up to drivers of other brands as well. The firm is already trialling open access to Superchargers at some locations in the Netherlands.
The Supercharger network is regularly rated as among the best EV charging networks thanks to its widespread arrangement of devices offering ultra-rapid charging. The latest versions can charge at between 125kW and 250kW - five times faster than the most common public rapid chargers - and there are around 800 devices in the UK.
Most Superchargers are located at motorway service stations, where there is more demand for the fastest possible charging and opening them to drivers of other EVs would help address the need for a huge increase in the number of publicly available ultra-rapid chargers.
Exclusive access to the Supercharger network has long been seen as one of the advantages of a Tesla over other EVs. Following Musk’s announcement last year some Tesla owners expressed their displeasure at the idea, warning it would create queues and delays at chargers while removing one of the brand’s biggest appeals.
However, charging non-Tesla owners for use of the network is expected to allow Tesla to expand its infrastructure more quickly and support the free or discounted charging some Telsa owners currently enjoy.
The announcement came on the same day that the UK Government revealed further details of its plans to ramp up the UK’s public charging network.
It intends to spend £500 million to support a 10-fold increase in the number of chargers from 30,000 to 300,000 by 2030.
Industry experts have welcomed the ambition as well as targets for improving reliability but warned that there is still much work to be done to meet the targets and ensure that drivers in more isolated areas as well as those with disabilities have suitable safe access to chargers.