Is Tesla's fast-charging network an absolute necessity for EV owners?
It seems whenever we share information about a new electric vehicle, there are many naysayers that refuse to give it any credit if it doesn't bring with it its own fast-charging network. Basically, this means every EV that's not a Tesla. However, just because an automaker doesn't build out its own charging network doesn't mean the car itself is a lemon. This is especially true when considering that most EV owners charge at home, and many live in areas where other fast-charging networks are available and growing.
We are finally just entering into a turning point in which public electric vehicle charging is becoming more necessary and viable. Not long ago, it didn't really make sense for any company to invest in the technology, since there were very few EVs on the road, and most were situated in specific areas. So, if a manufacturer didn't build out its own network, owners were at a loss. In the near future, we'll see exponential growth in charging infrastructure, most of which will not be implemented by automakers, at least not directly.
So, what if you plan to purchase a Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron, Porsche Taycan, or one of multiple offerings from Hyundai and Kia? Will you fare as well as those Tesla owners that are enjoying access to the company's Supercharger Network? Our friend Sean Mitchell takes a closer look. Check out the video above and let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Video Description via Sean Mitchell (AllThingsEV.info) on YouTube:
Can a non-Tesla EV make it without the Tesla Supercharging network?
Even though most people charge their vehicles at home while they sleep, I’ve seen this concern come up quite a lot lately when discussing newer EV like the Porsche Taycan, Jaguar I-Pace, and Audi e-tron. This is largely understandable since a fast charging network takes an EV from around town commuter and adds the ability to use the vehicle for long road trips.
As a Tesla owner I benefit significantly from Tesla’s dense and reliable network of fast charging 100-120 kW stations, with rumored soon coming 200 kW charging, that allow me to go from coast to coast without worry.
Before we jump into the meat of the topic, let’s go back in time to where this nationwide fast charging precedent all began, Tesla’s September 2012 launch of the Supercharging network.
Supercharger event video: https://youtu.be/wgk5-eB9oTY
Since Tesla’s launch 6.5 years they have built a network of over 1,400 stations and more than 10,000 stalls that we see across the globe. In North America alone, we see more than 670 stalls all accessible from the in-car touchscreen. Source: https://supercharge.info/charts
How does that stack up to the most commonly used non-Tesla EV charging standard, Combined Charging System or CCS?
Using plugshare.com, it shows that I have access to nearly 800 CCS stalls in North America. Where it becomes incredibly confusing is how to know which ones are, let’s say, 100 kW or faster.
The Electrify America network, which is included on Plugshare’s map, says they offer between 50 kW - 350 kW on chargers near highways and 50 kW - 150kW in metropolitan areas. Furthermore, how do I know if as a Taycan owner, which will be able to take up to 350 kW, what speed I will get?
The next question is, could someone successfully get from, for example, California to New York, solely on a CCS network.
In summary, for most scenarios, it is possible to get around with a non-Tesla EV with CCS charging as most use at home or in-city chargers. Where it could get a tad inconvenient as of February 2019 is when you want to go on an extremely long road trip. Keep in mind, electricity is literally everywhere in the developed world so you shouldn’t have a problem charging, it’ll just depend on how fast that charge is.
My advice for those considering a Porsche Taycan, Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron or any other non-Tesla EV is to check a third party EV map like Plugshare to verify that you’ll be able to get to the places you most travel using the CCS charging network before buying an EV.