The SAIC-GM joint venture between SAIC and General Motors has announced an agreement with Tesla to secure access to the Tesla Supercharging network in China.
It's a first-of-its-kind deal between an automaker and Tesla related to the opening of the Supercharging network in China.
Let's recall that Tesla added China to its Non-Tesla Supercharger Pilot program in April through the opening of 10 select Supercharging stations and 120 destination charging sites (200 currently). However, it was a general move, which initially included 37 select models and required the Tesla App to use the charging points.
The recent agreement reminds us a bit of the deals in North America (related to the switch from the CCS1 to NACS charging standard) because SAIC-GM will be able to integrate the available Tesla Superchargers into its navigation and apps. There is no issue with charging standard incompatibility like in North America because in China, all EVs are equipped with two separate GB/T charging inlets (one for AC and one for DC).
The main point seems to be the addition of the Tesla's charging infrastructure to other OEM systems as one of the options. If Tesla intends to become a global charging service provider, in the near future, we might see a lot of similar agreements with carmakers around the word, especially in Europe where the opening of the charging network is the most advanced.
According to the SAIC-GM joint venture press release, access to the Tesla Supercharging network will be granted to Buick and Cadillac models by the end of this year. The image shows the Ultium-based Cadillac Lyriq, introduced in China earlier this year as well as two Buick EVs (E4 and E5). Buick also offers the Velite 6 model. In 2024, Cadillac is expected to launch its second Ultium-based model in China. That model is the Optiq.
There is a big chance that Tesla will soon open another batch of Superchargers to non-Tesla EVs. According to CnEVPost, the company operates more than 1,800 Supercharging stations (over 11,000 stalls) and more than 700 destination sites (over 2,000 stalls) in China.
SAIC-GM also is building its own fast charging network, but it's a bit small – 52 stations and 246 individual stalls. To secure charging options, the company has partnered with six charging operators to gain access to a total of over 500,000 charging points in China. Tesla's network will be an additional option.
In the United States, GM decided to switch to the Tesla-developed NACS charging standard and will gain access to the Tesla Supercharging network starting in 2025 (in 2024 via adapters).