Tesla’s 25,000 Supercharger stations will be open for use by other electric vehicles later this year, according to a tweet posted by Elon Musk. The news comes off the back of a year that saw heavy investment into EVs. Legacy manufacturers across the globe like General Motors, Volkswagen, and Ford are developing new vehicles, and several luxury electric vehicle startups have emerged to try and challenge Tesla’s reign on the market.
Musk made the announcement rather unceremoniously at the bottom of a response to a tweet from a Tesla fan defending the fact that Superchargers are currently not usable by other electric vehicles.
“We created our own connector, as there was no standard back then and Tesla was only maker of long range electric cars,” Musk wrote. “That said, we’re making our Supercharger network open to other EVs later this year.”
Looking at a map of Tesla’s Supercharger locations, it’s easy to see the scale of the opportunity for the auto manufacturer. A scrape by Thinknum found 5,260 supercharger stations in the United States alone, and counted 16,200 worldwide. Tesla isn’t the only one making electric vehicles anymore, luxury or otherwise. Musk later added that eventually all Superchargers worldwide will accept non-Tesla vehicles.
While there are other companies like Blink Charging Co and Volkswagen’s Electrify America planting charging stations across the country, Tesla has a massive head start and is well-established across the country. Opening its Superchargers to general use gives the growing number of EV drivers broader access to charging stations while Tesla’s competitors play catchup, and even opens up the possibility of charging extra for use by non-Tesla vehicles. Tesla stock rose by $8 on Tuesday after Musk's tweets.
The number of Tesla Superchargers has increased 423% over the last five years, according to Thinknum data. But the biggest increase came between 2016 and 2018 when the company added 7,800 new Superchargers. Back then, as Musk tweeted, Tesla was one of the only companies both making long-range electric vehicles and charging stations. That early bet has paid off in spades, and as electric vehicles become more prominent, competitors and other auto manufacturers have a lot of catching up to do to establish a footprint that matches Tesla’s.