Tesla Offers Its Chargers for a Future Federal EV Charging System

Tesla’s charging infrastructure is expansive, and the U.S. government would have to pay for its use.

February 28, 2022

Tesla Superchargers Charging EVs

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Tesla has offered to open a portion of its electric vehicle (EV) charging network for use by other EVs, according to E&E News. Tesla’s proposal is mentioned in comments the company made this month to the Federal Highway Administration, which sought input on how to spend the $7.5 billion that Congress approved as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill to construct an EV-charging network.

Tesla suggested to the administration that it could receive federal funding for each public charging stall it creates, and the company also said it would receive federal money for a corresponding stall for use only by Teslas.

Tesla has said in the past that it will eventually open its chargers to non-Tesla EVs, and it has begun to open its charging network in the Netherlands. The move could be a glimpse into what Tesla could do in the U.S.

“Tesla opening up their network to all other users would be a game-changer in terms of infrastructure availability for all EVs,” Chris Harto, a policy analyst at Consumer Reports, told E&E.

E&E reports that Tesla’s proposal presents a couple of challenges for the Biden Administration. One, Congress designated the money only for chargers that everyone can use; two, it intended new infrastructure, not steel that is already in the ground.

Tesla also suggested that for every Tesla station, as well as other stations, with the soon-to-be-obsolete CHAdeMO connectors, “Tesla or CHAdeMO connectors should be eligible for rebates as long as there is a CCS connector at the location for every rebated Tesla or CHAdeMO connector,” wrote Tesla in the proposal. Tesla is asking that for every CCS connector it installs, it also get a “rebate” for a Tesla-only connector it already has on site.

According to E&E, Tesla operates almost 13,000 stalls, or 58% of all the available fast-charging plugs in America, and the stations usually sit at convenient locations. The Tesla Supercharger network has grown from seven plazas a decade ago to 1,278, or more than 21% of all fast-charging stops in the country.

“Right now they’re trying to balance what the value is of keeping our network closed, because that gives us an advantage in selling vehicles,” Harto told E&E, “as opposed to opening up to other drivers, which would increase the utility of those resources they’ve already invested in.”

Last year, the Biden Administration released details of its plan to build an EV charging infrastructure. In late January, NACS filed comments with the FHWA on its upcoming guidelines for this alternative fueling infrastructure.

A recent Convenience Matters podcast episode discusses how EVs are the future, and another episode explains how convenience retailers can attract and retain EV customers.

Visit the NACS Electric Vehicles topics page for more information about EVs. The NACS EV Charging Calculator was created to allow retailers to assess the cost and profitability of offering EV chargers at their sites. The calculator focuses on what retailer utility costs associated with EV recharging are and what the corresponding revenue must be to recover those costs after allowing for potential ancillary in-store visits and purchase profitability.

Read more about electricity demand charges and what they mean for retailers’ ability to turn a profit from EV charging in the September issue of NACS Magazine.