Tesla to allow all-electric vehicles to use their superchargers

18-08-2021 | By Sam Brown

Recently, Tesla announced that it would be installing more superchargers across Hampshire, and it will allow all-electric vehicles to use their superchargers. How do EVs' evolving challenges demonstrate their success, what challenges will Tesla face, and does this mean that EVs only have one last hurdle to overcome?

How do modern challenges faced by EVs indicate a bright future?

Developing any technology presents challenges that have to be addressed and overcome. If this were not the case, then any technology would be achievable with no effort, thus meaning that there is nothing left to develop or understand (i.e. something that an omnipotent being would experience). As technology advances, the challenges faced tending to increase in complexity. For example, the development of the plough allowed humans to farm more efficiently, while the development of the transistor allowed for digitizing information. Of these two examples, developing the plough is arguably easier to develop.

Electric vehicles are no different; since the first electric vehicles in the late 19th century, EVs have faced numerous challenges that have seen the internal combustion chamber take dominance. At first, EVs faced range issues as batteries were too large and heavy for the charge they could hold. Once battery technologies improved, the next challenge was that EVs could only charge in a handful of locations. Then when chargers became widely available, the price of EVs now prevents many from moving from fossil fuel to electric vehicles.

However, the very fact that the cost of electric vehicles is their only remaining barrier is an overwhelmingly positive sign. The price of EVs being the last hurdle means that there are plenty of places to charge them. They charge in a reasonable amount of time and have great range.

Tesla announces it will open its superchargers to all EVs

While chargers continue to be installed worldwide, not all chargers are equal, and Tesla vehicles will only charge with Tesla chargers. Furthermore, Tesla superchargers are designed for use with Tesla vehicles only, keeping non-Tesla EV owners out from convenient charging. Considering how Tesla is installing charge points at an alarming rate in many locations, the inability for electric vehicles to charge at any charger limits their range and abilities.

However, Tesla recently announced that it plans to install more superchargers (including in Hampshire) and plans to enable all EVs to use their superchargers by the end of 2021. This move is a significant step for the EV industry as EVs will have access to the network of superchargers already installed. Instead of vehicle owners having to charge at designated places, any charger they come across will be available for their vehicle, making EVs far more practical.

The ability for Tesla superchargers to charge an EV up to 80% in 15 minutes also provides users with a reasonable wait time. While this may not be 100%, an EV does not require charging to 100% to work. Thus, opening Tesla superchargers to all EVs provides more charging station options to drivers and grants them access to fast charging technologies.

What challenges will EV chargers face?

The most considerable challenge faced will most likely be in the connector itself. Different manufacturers have different standards which they develop independently. This is due to the lack of battery charger standards, and as charging, currents and technology develop, older connectors quickly become unsuitable.

However, this could be solved by releasing adaptors that sit in between chargers and the EV. While these adaptors may not be able to transmit digital information (such as charging requirements and protocols), it could be enough to enable a standard charging scheme across all vehicles.

A vehicle that is not compatible with the supercharger would be given a standard 230V mains level at a limited current (say 10A). Such a charging rate could see long recharge times, but it would also help to prevent overcurrent to charging vehicles. Instead, adaptors could also integrate chips that tell the charger what current to deploy, but this would require a universal messaging protocol that all chargers understand.

By Sam Brown