After recently expanding its Supercharger pilot program for non-Tesla EV owners, the Supercharger network became the ‘largest 150 kW+ public fast-charging network’ in Europe overnight. It’s quite impressive that Tesla did that basically by just flipping a switch.
Tesla was early in investing in charging infrastructure, which led to the Supercharger becoming the largest global fast-charging network.
The company has been criticized for only providing charging for its own customers when most other networks are for all electric vehicles, but there basically wasn’t any other electric vehicle when Tesla started working on the Supercharger network.
Only lately has the automaker started to work on opening up the network to other EVs.
In November 2021, we saw Tesla take its first step with a pilot program running at 10 Supercharger stations in the Netherlands where non-Tesla EV owners can charge using the Tesla app.
When announcing the new pilot program, Tesla said that it planned to slowly expand it as it tests the user experience for both new non-Tesla EV owners being onboarded on the network and current Tesla owners who are going to see more traffic at those charging stations.
In January, the automaker announced that the program was expanding to more stations in Norway and France, and a month later, the program was expanded to all Supercharger stations in the Netherlands.
Finally, Tesla made its biggest expansion of the pilot program last week by opening many more Supercharger stations in the UK, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, and Austria to all EV owners.
Jeroen van Tilburg, Tesla’s Head of Supercharging in EMEA, had an interesting note about the pilot program. Following the latest expansion, he said that the network of Supercharger stations opened to non-Tesla EV owners in Europe has become the largest network of 150 kW+ public fast-charging stations.
He wrote on LinkedIn:
Becoming the largest 150kW+ CPO instantly: Today we’ve expanded the Non-Tesla Supercharger pilot to Austria, Belgium, Spain, Sweden and the UK (in addition to our existing (pilot) sites in the Netherlands, France and Norway), accelerating the transition to a sustainable future for everyone.
It’s a hard claim to confirm, but it is likely true that Tesla is already offering more fast-chargers with a capacity of 150 kW or more for all EVs than any other charging network operator.
Ionity has 417 charging stations deployed in Europe, about twice as many as Tesla Supercharger stations in the pilot program for all EVs, but Ionity is averaging only 4.1 chargers per station for a total of 1738 fast-charger stations.
I couldn’t verify the number of chargers at all ~200 stations in Tesla’s pilot program, but it appears to be close to its overall average of 9 chargers per station, which should put Tesla’s pilot program just above Ionity’s whole network in Europe.
Of course, it was more complicated than simply “flipping a switch,” as Tesla had to validate charging a variety of EVs on its Superchargers, but it is still way simpler since the automaker didn’t deploy any new stations to achieve that feat.
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