On July 26, 2021, Tesla had its 2021 Q2 earnings call with investors. No, we’re not about to tell you that Elon Musk has suddenly reversed his position on making an electric motorcycle. However, what we are about to tell you should have major implications for the entire EV ecosystem, including electric motorcycles.
In this call, Musk addressed the details of how the Tesla Supercharger network plans to open up its availability to all electric vehicles later on in 2021. Since Tesla’s Supercharger network is already pretty massive, and only continues to grow in any market where it’s present, this is potentially a pretty huge EV infrastructure deal.
How it will work is a little different, depending on where you and your electric vehicle are located. In all cases, you’ll need the Tesla app installed on your smartphone. Then, you’ll take your EV to a Supercharger, tell it what stall you’re in, plug in, and charge.
“And then you just access the app and say, turn on this stall that I'm in for how much electricity. And this should basically work with I think almost any manufacturer's cars. There will be time constraints. If the charge rate is super slow, then somebody will be charged more because the biggest constraint at the Supercharger is time, how occupied is the stall,” Musk said.
“And we'll also be smarter with how we charge for electricity at the Supercharger. So rush hour charging will be more expensive than off-hours is charging because there are times when the Superchargers are empty and times when they're jam-packed. And so, it makes sense to have some time-based discrimination,” Musk continued.
That’s one issue addressed, but what about the difference between electric charging standards in North America? As EV enthusiasts are likely aware, in Europe, China, and many other places in the world, EVs charge using the same connectors. North America is the outlier.
Musk added in this call that there will be adapters to allow other EVs to use Tesla Superchargers. Customers could either purchase those adapters. Musk also added that, “we anticipate having it available at the Superchargers as well if people don’t sort of steal them or something.” He then went on to say that Tesla wants to support sustainable energy, not build itself a walled garden.
“I think it's also important to comment that increasing the utilization of the network actually reduces our costs, which allows us to lower charging prices for our customers and make the network more profitable, allows us to grow the network faster. That's the good thing there. And then -- and no matter what, we're going to continue to aggressively expand the network capacity, increasing charging speeds, improving the trip planning tools to protect against site congestion using dynamic pricing, as Elon mentioned,” added Tesla powertrain and energy engineering senior VP Andrew Baglino.
Musk then went on to say that if Tesla is going to pursue this avenue of growth, the Supercharger network will need to grow faster than vehicle output. Although he says it won’t be easy on the Supercharger team, he added that it’s currently one goal that Tesla has.
How that adapter situation will play out remains to be seen. Will it be one more connective dongle to add to the daily routines of anyone who drives or rides electric? Will Tesla find a good way to secure an adapter at Superchargers so they’re regularly available to customers who want to use them? We’ll let you know as soon as we do.