J.B. Straubel Says Tesla Is In Talks With Other Automakers On Supercharger Network

Tesla Superchargers

JUN 21 2017 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 55

Tesla Superchargers

Tesla Superchargers in Barstow, CA in action (Image via PlugShare)

At the end of 2015, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the Supercharger network was intended to become available to other automakers if they chose to use it.

Tesla has shared that it will double its Supercharger network before the close of the year. This is definitely needed as the Model 3 starts production soon, and Tesla owners in areas where EVs are popular already complain of overcrowding at select stations.

Since Musk’s early talk of “sharing” Tesla’s Supercharger network, not much has been said of the possibility. That was until the automaker’s CTO J.B. Straubel brought it back to light at the recent Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s 28th Annual Energy Fair. Straubel delivered an informative keynote speech, during which he said (via Electrek):

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

“For things like Supercharger, we are actively talking to other car makers and we are trying to figure out a structure to work with them.”

Straubel did say that the Silicon Valley automaker was still having issues with Supercharger congestion. However, this should change as the network is continually expanded, and at a much more accelerated rate now.

Tesla hopes to be able to produce a half-million vehicles per year by the end of 2018. If the company can pull this off on time, or even shortly thereafter, Supercharger stations will become increasingly crowded with Model 3s. However, owners will have to pay for use, so that may keep traffic more limited.

In a perfect world, Tesla owners would be thrilled about increased electric vehicle adoption. Realistically, some Tesla owners probably won’t be very happy if a bunch of other EVs begin clogging up “their” Superchargers. Keep in mind that this will likely only be the case in areas with many plug-in vehicles, which are few and far between … for now. Expanded stations and more cars with DC fast-charging capability should make all of this less of an issue.

Unfortunately, Straubel didn’t divulge any additional details as to when this might happen, or how automakers (or EV owners) would be charged. If it works out, the extra money coming in could be utilized to fund additional Supercharger network expansion.

Source: Electrek

Categories: Charging, Tesla

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55 Comments on "J.B. Straubel Says Tesla Is In Talks With Other Automakers On Supercharger Network"

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jelloslug
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jelloslug

More money from licensing the use would be a good idea in the long run. It would allow for faster expansion and great overall sales of EVs

Brian
Guest
Brian

Exactly. This is the key:
“the extra money coming in could be utilized to fund additional Supercharger network expansion”

In the short term, network users would feel the pain. In the long term, they will have far more supercharging locations available to them.

Brandon
Guest

Let’s all not be duped to think that fees for Supercharging will help to expand the Supercharger network. They most certainly won’t. As I already said further down in the comments here, the fees charged to users will hardly just cover the electric costs and utility demand charges.

Seriously, I’m not trying to pull you guys leg here.

SJC
Guest
SJC

Superchargers are one of the best ideas Tesla ever had IMO. If they let other car owners use them for a fee there will be WAIT times. People charge for 30 minutes not a 5 minute fill up.

Brandon
Guest

Yes, there will always need to be more built. Sorry if I wasn’t clear enough, but what I meant is that the fees charged will not cover or be sufficient to help fund expansion. It’s going to be other money that’ll need to do that.

Martin Winlow
Guest
Martin Winlow

Except that (as far as I am aware) no-one has suggested than non-Tesla EVs will be able to use the SuCs for free or even at the same (relatively cheap) rate as Tesla cars can…

Meanwhile…

https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry/queen’s-speech-government-establishes-autonomous-and-electric-vehicle-bill#comment-217844

tim
Guest
tim

screw this. sharing supercharger network will devalue tesla

Josh Bryant
Guest
Josh Bryant

Maybe not. Having other EV owners checking out a ton of Tesla’s every time they stop to charge might be an advantage.

Mikael
Guest
Mikael

Having Tesla owners seeing that other BEVs can actually charge at over 100 kW continuous up to 80% might not be so good for Tesla.

Paul Smith
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Paul Smith

By the time this happens Tesla’s may be charging at 350kW.

Someone out there
Guest
Someone out there

That is right, it would kill or severely dampen one of Tesla’s unique selling points, probably the most important one at this stage. Today, if you want a long range EV that allows for long distance travel, Tesla is by far the best option at the moment.

Ziv
Guest
Ziv

I would love to see GM, BMW and Nissan hop on board and work to build the SuperCharger network even more quickly than Tesla could do on their own.

I don’t know which of the following reasons I like more. T
he SuperCharger system is better than DCFC’ing.
Or the probability that a substantial minority of Tesla owners would hate to associate with GM BEV owners. 😉
Seriously, though, the SuperCharger system is faster and more user friendly. It would be cool to see it expanded even faster than is now planned.

georgeS
Guest
georgeS

“Or the probability that a substantial minority of Tesla owners would hate to associate with GM BEV owners. ?”

Hey Ziv. I had a Volt for 3 years and I now own a Tesla Model S. I like Volt and BoltEV owners a lot more than I like diehard Tesla fanboys. Especially ones that don’t even own an EV but are proclaimed experts on Tesla.

….however, Personally one of the things I like about the SC network is that it is exclusive to Tesla owners only. Call me selfish but that’s the way I’d like to keep it.

Brian
Guest
Brian

You’re so selfish.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous
Guest
(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Greedy….
😛

Ziv
Guest
Ziv

George, I really like my 2013 Volt, but my next car will probably be a Tesla. And if I do get a Tesla, I definitely wouldn’t want to charge my car near riff raff like me! ?
Wait a minute…
Seriously though, exclusivity is often a good thing. I remember when “discriminating” was frequently a compliment.

Rick Danger
Guest
Rick Danger

Wasn’t it Goucho Marx who said “I would never join a club that would have me for a member.” 🙂

Ziv
Guest
Ziv

I think Groucho said it first, but I still remember Jackie Mason saying something about women and country clubs way back in the day.
“Women are like country clubs. Those that would have me, I don’t want anything to do with!”

ffbj
Guest
ffbj
ItsNotAboutTheMoney
Guest
ItsNotAboutTheMoney

I don’t think it’s really selfish.
Because of the slow refueling rate, network capacity and availability is a big deal.

But if PEV is going to succeed, sales volumes have to rise a lot. If every major manufacturer had their own network and sold 100,000 long-range BEVs per year and took $1k per car to fund infrastructure, they could each build hundreds of DCFC sites per year and in about 3 years they’d have a comprehensive, dense network.

In the long run I don’t think it’ll really matter where there’s a common DCFC standard or not.

I think it’s home and destination AC charging that benefits more from a standard.

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Pushmi-Pullyu

“In the long run I don’t think it’ll really matter where there’s a common DCFC standard or not.”

Are you old enough to remember the “format war” of VHS vs. BetaMAX?

Notice how very much faster DVD adoption was because the major manufacturers avoided a format war?

Proliferation of public EV chargers certainly would benefit from a universal charging standard.

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

Robert Middleswarth
Guest
Robert Middleswarth

DVD Adaptation was faster for several reasons including the fact it was similar to CD’s so people already know the format.

William
Guest
William

Let me guess, maybe BMW, Nissan, and maybe GM. I wonder who else would go begging to the Tesla door step? Jaguar would be a good candidate, possibly?

jelloslug
Guest
jelloslug

The last time I remember Tesla mentioning anything about it they said “European but not German”. Could the I-Pace be the first to license it?

Brandon
Guest

Yeah, I would think more likely an automaker like Aston Martin, Lucid, Faraday Future, or some such low volume luxury EV maker.

Brian
Guest
Brian

I’m thinking Volvo. Their CEO publicly speaks highly of Tesla, and they plan to enter the EV space soon.

http://insideevs.com/volvo-ceo-credits-tesla-for-raising-interest-in-electric-cars/

Josh Bryant
Guest
Josh Bryant

Volvo seems like a good guess.

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Pushmi-Pullyu

Yeah, the first time I heard the “Some European auto maker, but not German” claim, I figured it was some low-volume auto maker. Volvo and Aston Martin look like good guesses; there are of course others such as Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Ferrari.

It would have to be an auto maker that sees value in riding the coat-tails of Tesla’s success in the EV market, and isn’t in a position to worry about Tesla being in control of its customers’ access to fast charging. That means it’s definitely not going to be a major auto maker… or at least, that’s my assessment of the situation.

CHris
Guest
CHris

But only Volvo, Aston and Jaguar, don’t belong to a German company…;)
Ferrari not as well, but an all elctric Ferrari?

Benz
Guest
Benz

I wonder how much money will be charged by Tesla per EV in order for it to be allowed to be charged at the Tesla Supercharger network?

Meaning how much money They other car manufacturers will have to pay to Tesla in order for every one of their EV models to be charged at the Tesla Supercharger network?

Brandon
Guest

Whatever it is I really doubt it will be utilized to fund additional Supercharger network expansion like the author of this article says. In general, the costs of the electric along with demand charges from the utility are hardly going to just be covering by user fees!!

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Pushmi-Pullyu

You appear to be confusing user fees with the amount Tesla would charge another auto maker for allowing its cars to use the Supercharger network.

We can be sure that if Tesla does make a deal for this, that it will get sufficient funding from the other auto maker(s) to build out more Superchargers, to deal with the increase in usage. It simply doesn’t make sense for Tesla to agree to the deal if the funding isn’t sufficient for that.

Contrary to what some Tesla detractors say, Tesla isn’t a charity. Tesla may use its Superchargers as a “loss leader” to attract more customers, but that doesn’t mean they’ll agree to sell access to other auto makers at a loss.

CHris
Guest
CHris

EM already stated that it would be possible to share SuCs, if the other company contributes in the costs of the network.
Could be a simple licencing deal on a per car basis.

MikeG
Guest
MikeG

I’m assuming that this will entail a Tesla->CCS or Tesla->Chademo adapter unless someone else is planning to adopt the Tesla charging system.

On the other hand, why not have Tesla develop such an adapter and sell it to individuals rather than carmakers. The adapter would need to be backed by an account to provide payment, but Tesla could immediately monetize their network for use by other EV owners.

Brian
Guest
Brian

I would gladly pay $2k for the adapter (the original price of activating SCing on a Model S), plus electricity fees to charge a car such as a Bolt on their network.

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Pushmi-Pullyu

I’m assuming that this will entail a Tesla->CCS or Tesla->Chademo adapter unless someone else is planning to adopt the Tesla charging system.

I’m fairly sure that originally, Tesla was hoping other auto makers would adopt their charging format. Tesla would certainly like their format to become the universal standard!

On the other hand, after several years have passed with no takers, I wonder if some or most Tesla executives are happy with the situation of the Supercharger network being an exclusive benefit for Tesla customers only.

CHris
Guest
CHris

That is only needed in the US. All other Teslas use Type2 witch is easily adpoted for other car makers.

bws
Guest
bws

I would like to see the Lucid Air use the tesla connector and join the supercharger network. I think I am not the only current Model S owner that would consider a Lucid Air in the future.

Someone out there
Guest
Someone out there

There is a very simple solution to this of course. If Tesla truly wanted to proliferate EVs they could simply add a CCS interface to each supercharger location to allow non-Tesla cars to charge there. Of course they should charge market rates for it.
In one stroke there would be a nation-wide network for all cars (well, I guess Nissan LEAF would be left out, maybe they could add both standards). I’m sure that would cause a significant boost to EV adoption.
However, Tesla waiting for other car manufacturers to give up their patents, not going to happen.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Here’s a wild idea. Purely speculation, not based on any facts.

But what if Tesla actually forgoes the proprietary connector on the Model 3, and uses CCS instead? If you look at the charge port opening on spy shots, it is certainly large enough. Then they could add CCS to the supercharger locations, and make those pay-per-use. They could essentially leave the existing proprietary connectors for Model S/X exclusive use. Then the high-roller S/X drivers would still have their “walled garden”, which wouldn’t be diluted by other manufacturers’ EVs, or even the lower-cost / higher-volume Model 3. At the same time, Model 3 drivers could much more easily access other networks (Greenlots and EVGo are growing around here) without an adapter.

I know, just a fantasy. But hey, now is the time for speculation! I still have a week or two until I’m proven wrong 😉

Someone out there
Guest
Someone out there

I’m not sure but I think there is a per-connector license fee for the CCS standard so adding CCS to the model 3 would incur an extra cost.

Mikael
Guest
Mikael

I don’t know either but I don’t think so. One of the reasons CCS was created was to not have to pay fees for Chademo.

ItsNotAboutTheMoney
Guest
ItsNotAboutTheMoney

As I wrote above, DCFC protocol will be a non-issue in the future. It matters right now because long-range BEVs are low volume. But as long as there’s a fixed ratio chargers:cars, high volume will provide coverage and capacity.

But for now, Tesla has the best network (fast and good coverage). They’d be nuts to put CCS only on there.

But a Tesla connector _and_ an optional installed alternative would be an interesting possibility…

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Pushmi-Pullyu
“But what if Tesla actually forgoes the proprietary connector on the Model 3, and uses CCS instead? …Then they could add CCS to the supercharger locations, and make those pay-per-use. They could essentially leave the existing proprietary connectors for Model S/X exclusive use… which wouldn’t be diluted by other manufacturers’ EVs, or even the lower-cost / higher-volume Model 3.” Well, Brian, since you labeled this a “fantasy” it seems inappropriate to offer any criticism based on practical considerations. However, if we were to consider the practicality of such a scheme outside the framework of your fantasy — which wasn’t your intent, so my apologies in advance — then we should note that this appears to require CCS stalls entirely separate from, and added to, the existing Supercharger stalls, and thus would require significantly more physical space at each location. Eventually, since the M3 will hopefully sell in much greater numbers than the MS/X, there would need to be far more CCS stalls than Supercharger stalls. In practice, since space is limited at many or most existing locations, this means Tesla would have to build many new CCS-only charging stations. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Unless the industry adopts the… Read more »
CHris
Guest
CHris

This, again, only applies to the US cars.
Every Tesla sold outside the states has a Typ2 inlet which could be easily adopted as well from other car makers, and Telsa could easily combine a CCS-plug with the supercharger compatible Typ2 inlet.
With this kind of inlet the Model 3 would beconme everywhere-chargable car (Typ2-AC, Typ2-SuC, Typ2-CCS, Chademo with the adaptor)!
I am pretty sure, that Tesla will go this way with the Model 3 outside the US!

unlucky
Guest
unlucky

Tesla still the only one talking about it.

If I were an automaker I don’t think I’d put my fate into the hands of my competition. And I can’t see how it makes sense anyway.

It’s not like GM built gas stations across the US in the 20th century.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous
Guest
(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Whoever it is, the cars better charge at high rate otherwise it WILL be the bottleneck.
You don’t want your product being the bottleneck. It’s just bad JuJu.

ThombdBhomb
Guest
ThombdBhomb

I would like to see an autonomous (“summons” -like) queue system at SCs where Teslas park in a parking space outside a charging stall and wait their turn to charge. A charged Tesla would autonomously decouple from the charger and park itself somewhere else, then another Tesla would autonomously proceed to the charger, plug itself in, and charge itself. I guess you’d need to install those robot snake chargers at the charging stations.

Brandon
Guest

No. It’s much better to plan to have sufficient stalls than to plan for queueing. Waiting around to fast charge is not desirable, and most would not relish the idea IMO.

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Pushmi-Pullyu

“…then another Tesla would autonomously proceed to the charger, plug itself in, and charge itself. I guess you’d need to install those robot snake chargers at the charging stations.”

Meanwhile, other EV makers will be installing wireless chargers in their EVs, eliminating the need for any “robot snake” or other automated plugging-in device. Eventually Tesla will have to give in to competition and provide the same.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous
Guest
(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

It’s going to be the Mitsu Outlander.

/Sarc

ItsNotAboutTheMoney
Guest
ItsNotAboutTheMoney

😀

I LOL’ed

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Pushmi-Pullyu

“For things like Supercharger, we are actively talking to other car makers and we are trying to figure out a structure to work with them.”

But a Tesla spokesman said much the same a couple of years ago. Has anything changed since? There’s no indication here that it has.

“…some Tesla owners probably won’t be very happy if a bunch of other EVs begin clogging up ‘their’ Superchargers.”

The idea is that other auto makers would help support the network, and provide funds to build out more charging stalls and stations.

It’s a mistake to treat the Supercharger network as a zero-sum game. Sharing is good, so long as everyone brings something to the table!

* * * * *

CRAPGAME (Don Rickles): How are things going with the bank?

BIG JOE (Telly Savalas): Nothin’. The Sherman’s broken down and nobody’s gonna get that Tiger out of the square.

CRAPGAME: Make a deal with ‘im.

BIG JOE: What kind of a deal?

CRAPGAME: A deal deal! Maybe the guy’s a Republican.

— Kelly’s Heroes (1970)

Jake Brake
Guest
Jake Brake

Superchargers are too slow, new ultrafast chargers with sae combo can do 400kW and you dont have to put your future in the hands of a startup with a monopoly on the infrastructure.

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Pushmi-Pullyu

I seriously doubt anybody is building passenger car EV chargers that can dispense 400 kW. Even if they did, nobody is building a passenger car that can accept anything within the ballpark of that level of charge.

Perhaps you misunderstood what you read. Perhaps that’s the total kW provided for multiple stalls at a location, or perhaps that’s a charger for a larger vehicle. Proterra’s EV bus charger charges at 500 kW, but it’s not designed to charge ordinary passenger car EVs.