For years, Tesla charging has been all take and no give. Tesla cars can charge at any charging station, but Superchargers won’t work for competing EVs. Now, based on the results of a ten-charger pilot in the Netherlands, that could be starting to change — but it’s not guaranteed.
The trial, announced today, opens specific Supercharger stations in the Netherlands to non-Tesla EV owners. In order to ensure that the experiment doesn’t affect Model 3/Y/X/S owners, Tesla says it will be “closely monitoring each site for congestion and listening to customers about their experiences.”
Congestion seems like a reasonable concern; given that Tesla only makes one of the ten best selling EVs in the country, Tesla owners may find themselves vying with Kias and Skodas for charging spots. To combat that, the company has expanded idle fees to owners of competing cars — if you want to sit in a spot when your car is done charging, it’ll cost you.
That’s not the only thing that’ll cost non-Tesla owners. The company has stated that charging costs will be increased for owners of competing EVs, claiming the increase “reflects additional costs incurred to support charging a broad range of vehicles and adjustments to our sites to accommodate these vehicles.”
What “adjustments” might those be? Tesla doesn’t say, but the chargers are still activated through the normal Tesla app. It’s unclear if any code on the chargers had to be updated, in order to achieve a handshake with other vehicles, but we’re definitely not talking new pavement or hardware here.
The reason this doesn’t require new hardware comes down to EU standards — Teslas delivered in the bloc have either a built-in CCS connector or an included adaptor, rather than using the Tesla-exclusive Supercharger plugs from U.S.-delivered models. That means that many modern Superchargers don’t need to be changed or adapted to fit other EU-delivered cars — theoretically, they should plug right in.
Even if this test goes well, don’t expect a switch to be flipped that gives all U.S. EVs access to the Supercharger network. We don’t have the same standards as the EU, and Tesla cars here have a proprietary plug. A Supercharger in the United States won’t fit your Leaf — and unless Tesla upgrades their chargers or builds an adaptor, it never will.