Tesla pledges to open 7,500 chargers within the US to different electrical autos
The Biden administration aims to see at least 500,000 electric vehicle chargers on US roads by 2030, and on Wednesday announced a series of initiatives to help make that a reality, including commitments from companies that build and operate charging networks tesla, GM, ford, ChargePoint and other.
All companies can benefit from federal funding if their planned charging infrastructure projects meet the new federal standards, also announced on Wednesday.
As part of that effort, White House officials said they had finalized a commitment from Tesla to open thousands of its chargers for EVs from other manufacturers. Previously, Tesla Supercharging stations in the US were primarily accessible to drivers of company-owned cars.
Tesla has specifically agreed to make at least 7,500 of its U.S. public-facing chargers available for use by any compatible electric vehicle by the end of 2024. That total will also include at least 3,500 of Tesla’s 250-kilowatt superchargers located along key highway corridors like the slower Target Level 2 chargers the automaker deploys in places like hotels and restaurants, officials said.
Tesla also agreed to triple the number of superchargers on its US network, with new chargers being manufactured in Buffalo, NY, the official said. The company has assembled some of its charging equipment at a Buffalo facility originally intended as a solar panel factory.
Tesla has been planning to open its charging network in the US for years. According to Tesla’s most recent annual financial report, in November 2021, the company “began to offer superchargers access to non-Tesla vehicles in certain locations to support our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
White House infrastructure chief Mitch Landrieu told reporters Tuesday that Musk is one of many auto industry CEOs involved in talks with the White House on charging infrastructure over the past year.
“He was very open, he was very constructive,” said Landrieu. “And at the time he said his intention was to work with us to make his network interoperable. All other participants in the conversation agreed.”
Landrieu added: “It was very important to us that everyone was involved in the conversation.”
The White House also hailed other automakers and companies, praising a separate deal between General Motors, Pilot Company and charging network EVGo to install 2,000 fast chargers at Pilot and Flying-J centers along US highways.
GM, through a separate partnership with FLO, also plans to install up to 40,000 public Level 2 EV chargers in US communities by 2026, which will become part of GM’s Ultium Charge 360 network and will be available to all EV drivers.
Ford has committed to installing DC fast chargers at 1,920 of the company’s dealerships by January 2024.
The EV Charger Unit from Hertz and oil giant BP plans to install thousands of chargers in major US cities for use by Hertz customers and the general public.
Among Wednesday’s announcements, the energy and transport ministries also unveiled new charging standards that “ensure everyone can use the network – no matter what car you drive or what condition you’re charging.” Among the requirements:
- All new chargers built with federal funds must support the Combined Charging System (CCS) connector standard. The CCS standard is used by most automakers except Tesla.
- New charging stations built with federal funds must have a minimum number of DC fast chargers.
- Federally funded chargers must be operational at least 97% of the time after installation.
- Effective immediately, all federally funded chargers must be assembled in the United States and their steel cases manufactured in the United States. By July 2024, at least 55% of charger components (measured by cost) must be made in the US So.
- New chargers built with federal funds to be compatible with new user-friendly technologies like “Plug and Charge” which – as the name suggests – automate the process of paying for the charge.
There are also new rules designed to ensure drivers don’t have to use multiple apps to find and use chargers by making charging station, price and availability data public and available through mapping applications.
But in an omission that will raise questions from staunch environmentalists, the new government-funded EV chargers won’t necessarily run on clean energy sources.
Officials said it is “company dependent” whether state-funded EV chargers run on renewable energy, “clean electricity,” or simply plug into the existing grid.
The non-profit International Council on Clean Transportation estimates that transport is responsible for 25% of CO2 emissions from human activity worldwide. Much of this pollution comes from tailpipe emissions, but charging with electricity from clean or renewable sources increases the climate benefits of switching to an electric vehicle.
According to Project Drawdown’s environmental impact research, there is a 50% reduction in emissions when an electric vehicle is powered by the conventional grid compared to gasoline-powered vehicles. When powered by solar energy, an electric vehicle’s carbon emissions are reduced by 95% compared to a comparable internal combustion engine vehicle that burns petrol.
However, officials hinted that everything will work out in the long run. During the briefing, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm stressed that the President’s goal is to achieve a “fully clean grid” by 2035.
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