Posted on November 11, 2016 by Matt Pressman
Although the Model S and Model X have access to Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] world-class charging network, Tesla's forthcoming Model 3, when launched, will have a vastly larger charging infrastructure from both its own internal Tesla Supercharger and Destination Charger network along with major advances from external public and private charging networks. Electric vehicle charging is growing worldwide and plans are in place for a completely different (and far larger) charging landscape when the Model 3 comes to market.
Above: Tesla Model 3 recently displayed at Tesla company party at the Avaya Stadium in San Jose, CA (Instagram: ocerrato21)
One ironic place that massive charging infrastructure will come from is... umm, Volkswagen. According to Wired, as part of its diesel-gate settlement, "VW will allocate $2 billion to finance EV education programs and charging infrastructure... [for context] Chargepoint is the country’s largest provider of charging stations, with more than 30,000 locations. Since its founding nine years ago, the company has raised $173 million. VW must spend more than 10 times that amount." Tesla owners, who can already use charging adaptors for access to Chargepoint (and other charging networks), will simply use a charging adaptor and enjoy VW's $2 Billion charging network. This will be a nice bonus for Model 3 owners as VW's work is likely to begin as mass deliveries of the 3 come to market.
Above: Tesla could take advantage of VW's massive investment in EV charging infrastructure (Image: Green Car Reports)
In addition, the White House announced a landmark EV initiative in which, "it will create 48 national charging corridors for electric vehicles, covering off 25,000 miles of U.S. highways running through 35 states." Of course, a simple charging adaptor will allow Tesla owners to be able to access this massive new charging network. Not to be outdone, Electrek reports that, "Tesla started construction on its own new Supercharging coast-to-coast corridor. Tesla’s Supercharger network already offers a few routes to travel coast-to-coast, but with the start of construction on 3 new stations, the electric automaker will offer yet another alternative to its owners."
Above: Tesla Model S using public charger (Source: Everipedia)
After all, "Tesla announced that it plans to double the number of Superchargers to 7,000 units and quadruple the number of Destination chargers to 15,000 units by the end of 2017." As an example, check out Tesla's newest Supercharger expansion efforts announced in Asia this week with Swire properties (see below). And, as reported in Motley Fool, we just learned that Tesla will begin to monetize Supercharger use next year in order to, "reinvest in the network, accelerate its growth and bring all owners, current and future, the best Supercharging experience." Although specifics on Supercharger pricing hasn't been laid out, Tesla promised, "there will be a small fee to Supercharge which will be charged incrementally and cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car."
Above: Tesla charging network is expanding through Swire’s properties all across Asia (Source: Tesla)
It's likely that this "reinvestment" will allow Tesla to pull ahead of CHAdeMO to become the world's largest charging network. According to InsideEVs, "Sales data of plug-in electric cars that are equipped for DC fast charging (of any standard) lead us to some interesting conclusions. The current leader – CHAdeMO – has lost some steam over the first nine-months of 2016, as Tesla’s proprietary Supercharging standard has a shot at becoming the most popular charging option among new BEVs sold this year." And, Tesla owners can purchase a CHAdeMO charging adaptor too for full access to the CHAdeMO network as well.
So whether it's investments from other automakers like VW, government initiatives like the one announced from the White House, or Tesla's own steps to monetize and grow it's proprietary networks, Model 3 owners will have vastly more charging options than any electric vehicle before it. Unlike other electric vehicles (i.e. Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, BMW i3, etc.), Tesla owners have access to Tesla Superchargers, Destination Chargers, and nearly all other EV chargers with use of Tesla's charging adaptors. Other vehicle manufacturers don't have access to Tesla unless they choose to work out a deal with Elon Musk. That's not likely. So Tesla's proprietary charging infrastructure and vast charging access will continue to give Tesla Motors a unique advantage over its competitors.