Is this the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?  You may have read my previous blog about a planned Florida trip in my Tesla Model 3 and how easy I expected it to be to navigate and fuel up along the way.  The final result was that it was even easier than I thought it would be and long-distance travel in an electric vehicle (EV) need not be stress/anxiety inducing.  That is something that has not been lost on our federal government and other non-Tesla automakers. 

A little background…. There are currently 3 public DC fast charging standards deployed in the US.  Tesla (NACS), CCS and CHAdeMO.  Each EV is designed to use one of these different standards to DC fast charge.  The first two are by far the dominant configurations but have considerably different public experiences and success rates. 

The Tesla network has been a proprietary network only open to Tesla vehicles and CCS is open to everyone, even Tesla owners who use an adapter that comes with the car.  Another significant difference is that the Tesla network is controlled and monitored by one company, whereas CCS is comprised of numerous companies that all use different equipment, networking and control monitoring.  Tesla is streamlined and works seamlessly, while CCS is disjointed and works less than satisfactorily for a driving public that is used to gassing up and going in 5-10 minutes. 

Enter the federal government to save the day….  In exchange for federal funding, Tesla has now agreed to open up their private fast charging network to all EV drivers.  This has started in two states (CA & NY) as of this writing and is expected to expand to other states.  To access this network, you will have to download the Tesla app and then use it to locate and activate an available Supercharger.  Here is a picture from my phone app showing what it looks like: 

You will need to link a credit card to the account and Tesla will bill you just like your other public charging apps.  It is more expensive for non-Tesla owners to use the Superchargers, but the reliability and convenience may just be worth it.  There is a built-in CCS adapter called the “magic dock” that will automatically deploy on the end of Tesla charge cord as you push up on it and then retract it. 

Another even more groundbreaking trend has just emerged as Ford, GM, Rivian, Polestar and Volvo have announced that they will begin transitioning their EVs to the Tesla DC fast charging standardIn 2024, all 4 will gain access to the supercharger network through a portable adapter and will have a seamless connection through their original EV’s app.  All 4 have also announced that in 2025, they will affect a manufacturing change over and begin to build Tesla NACS charging ports into all their new EVs and phase out the CCS ports. 

Time will tell whether the other automakers will join this industry wide realignment.  Now, for all you Tesla drivers out there that are worried their next road trip may be more inconvenient, Tesla is well aware of the potential problems this presents.  I have heard that they expect to continue to build out and actually triple the existing Supercharger network within the next 2 years.  So, to that I say, go ahead plan your next trip, get your bags packed and hit the road!  Quietly of course….after all, it’s an electric car!! 

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