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In a first, Tesla opens chargers to all EVs --- several companies on board with national EV network

Updated: Feb 21, 2023


A line of Tesla chargers in front of 2 cars, one white on black, with the logo in bright yellow and the white chargers tinted in red
Photo credit: Unsplash/Stephen Mease

President Biden has an ambitious plan to build a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle (EV) chargers along America’s highways by 2030 and Tesla will contribute.


On Wednesday, the White House announced that for the first time, thousands of the Texas-based EV giant’s Supercharger stations will be available to anybody driving a battery-powered car.


Right now there are only 130,000 public EV chargers scattered around the country and 7,500 Tesla-only ones that after just 15 minutes of charging, allow drivers o add up to 200 miles of range. But by the end of 2024, at least 3,500 new and existing Superchargers will be open to non-Teslas.


Along with Tesla, others like General Motors, EVgo, Pilot, Hertz and bp will be making new commitments to expand their EV charging networks. Over the next two years a mix of private dollars and federal funds will put “the nation’s EV charging goals even closer within reach,” the White House said.


The national network is a part of a much larger plan to 1) push the pedal to the metal on EV adoption, converting 50% of all new U.S. vehicle sales to EVs by 2030, 2) slow down planet-warming emissions while putting the brakes on tailpipe pollution from gas cars, and 3) incentivize American-made supply chains from the batteries that power EVs to the charging stations that keep them going.


The private company commitments to the national EV charging network also come with a new set of rules.


On Wednesday, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) also unveiled new national standards for federally funded EV chargers including a 97% uptime reliability requirement, publicly accessible data to find charging stations, and a single-identification requirement so drivers do not have to open multiple apps to verify before charging their EV.


“No matter what EV you drive, we want to make sure that you will be able to plug in, know the price you’re going to be paying, and charge up in a predictable, user-friendly experience,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told reporters in a preview of the rules, according to Reuters.


Additionally, Tesla will more than double its full nationwide network of Superchargers, manufactured in Buffalo, New York.


The expansion comes as Hertz and bp invest $1 billion in building out EV chargers through 2030, GM in partnership with FLO, brings 40,000 chargers to the table, and Francis Energy, a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based EV charge point operator plans to install another 50,000 by 2030.


75% of Francis Energy’s chargers are already in what the administration dubs “Justice40 communities” or places most impacted by climate change and pollution, and usually, as less invested in. Putting charging stations in these areas will hopefully accelerate adoption in communities that bear the brunt of highway pollution while lessening the congestion they deal with.


Several companies are also partnering with the White House to bring a national EV network including Electrifying America, Mercedes-Benz, Starbucks, Volvo Cars, ChargePoint, TravelCenters of America, Ford, and Forum Mobility, a zero-emission trucking solutions provider, which recently announced a $400 million round to deploy over 1,000 DC fast-chargers.


Over the next decade, Forum’s chargers will serve heavy-duty electric trucks projected to begin operating at the San Pedro and Oakland ports in California, creating over 600 union jobs in disadvantaged communities while reducing harmful emissions at the ports and along freight corridors.


While the ambitious national network has multiple companies on board to help bring it to fruition, there is worry. According to Reuter’s, Tesla has voiced concerns that the “pace and scale of deployment” of Biden’s plan is too ambitious and could create a “shortfall in the number of compliant charging stations.”


In addition, manufacturers in the EU and Mexico are feeling slighted by the administration’s goal of a fully-domestic supply chain.


Still, the amount of support the network is getting in addition to Tesla finally agreeing to make its chargers compatible with non-Tesla’s gives reason for hope. When Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, meant with the White House last month, he did not make the commitment. With Wednesday’s announcement the EV pioneer is switching gears, and optimistically, soon the rest of America will too.



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