Tesla’s approach to national EV charging infrastructure vs. GM and Ford's
With around 55,000 electric vehicle chargers across the U.S. and over two million EVs on the road already, many are noting how much more needs to be done to support the oncoming wave of EV purchases. Tesla, Ford and General Motors have all approached the infrastructural question with different solutions, and the ways they’re preparing are noteworthy.
Above: A Tesla Supercharger. Photo: Idea Inc. / Unsplash
The U.S. may need to increase EV charging stations 20-fold, to 1.2 public and 28 million private chargers to meet future emissions standards, according to a report from McKinsey & Company detailed this month by CNBC. Currently, the Department of Energy says there are 55,000 public charging stations, in addition to private chargers from companies like Tesla.
Tesla currently represents around 80 percent of new EV purchases in the U.S. market, and its Supercharger network has played a role in the growth of charging infrastructure and EVs in general, though the need is still far beyond the reality. Additionally, around 80 percent of Tesla owners charge their Teslas at home, and while the automaker’s Powerwall and energy solutions add to the company’s energy ecosystem business models, they don’t do quite as much for the public.
Still, Tesla is working toward making its ecosystem more public in the U.S. While Superchargers are currently only open to Teslas, the automaker plans to open them up to other EVs in the coming years. Even Tesla’s proprietary hardware is moving away from earlier, less-inclusive models to a more common standard.
In a tweet last July, Musk said, “We created our own connector, as there was no standard back then & Tesla was only maker of long range electric cars. That said, we’re making our Supercharger network open to all other EVs.”
GM also is slowly adding to its own charging network, which it eventually plans to include 60,000 charging stalls total alongside a dedicated ecosystem for its cars, dubbed Ultium Charge 360.
“We believe the focus needs to be on building an overall charging ecosystem that enables convenient, reliable, affordable charging access for all, and this is what we’re trying to do with Ultium Charge 360,” said the spokesperson.
Ford’s BlueOval charging network is currently the largest public charging network in North America, with nearly 20,000 stations and 60,000 charging plugs total. It’s a feat CEO Jim Farley says, “no one would have believed just two years ago from us.”
Still, while consumers mull over whether to go electric, few have done nearly enough in helping to spread mainstream EV adoption as Tesla. Increased public charging stations will help consumers quell range anxiety, and we can look forward to Tesla opening its Supercharger to other EVs in the years to come.