Electric car giant Tesla will, for the first time, make some of its charging stations available to all U.S. electric vehicles by the end of next year, under a new plan announced Wednesday by the White House.
The plan will make at least 7,500 chargers from Tesla's Supercharger and Destination Charger network available to non-Tesla EVs by the end of 2024, the White House said.
The plan to open the nation's largest and most reliable charging network to all drivers is a potential game-changer in promoting EV use, a key component of President Joe Biden's goal to fight climate change.
"As President Biden said, the great American road trip will be electrified,' ' said Mitch Landrieu, a White House aide who oversees implementation of the 2021 infrastructure law signed by Biden.
Soon, charging an EV "will be as easy as filling up at a gas station,'' Landrieu said.
The plan to open up Tesla's charging network was among a series of developments announced Wednesday by the White House, such as new standards to make EV charging networks convenient and reliable for all Americans, including those driving long distances. The new standards will ensure that everyone can use a charging network, no matter what car they drive or what state they charge in, Landrieu and other officials said.
Tesla, General Motors, EVgo, Pilot, Hertz and other companies also have agreed to expand their networks by thousands of public charging ports in the next two years, using private funds and federal spending from the infrastructure law, "putting the nation’s EV charging goals even closer within reach,'' the White House said.
"It's clear this administration is making incredible progress in ensuring EVs' future,'' Landrieu told reporters Tuesday.
Under the administration's plan, Tesla will set up charging sites at hotels, restaurants and other public spaces in urban and rural locations, the White House said. All EV drivers will be able to access these stations using the Tesla app or website, officials said. Tesla plans to triple its nationwide network of Superchargers over the next few years, the White House said.
White House: @Tesla to make some EV chargers available to all. #ClimateChange #ChargingStations #EVs
The developments come after Landrieu and another top White House aide, John Podesta, met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Washington last month. Biden did not attend the meeting, which centered on the EV industry and the broader goal of electrification of the U.S. economy, the White House said.
A week later, the Treasury Department said it is making more electric vehicles — including SUVs made by Tesla, Ford and General Motors — eligible for tax credits of up to $7,500 under new vehicle classification definitions. The revised standards follow lobbying by Tesla and other automakers to change vehicle definitions to allow higher-priced EVs to qualify for a maximum tax credit.
Tesla raised prices on its Model Y SUV within hours of the Treasury announcement.
Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst for Guidehouse Insight, said the agreement to open up Tesla chargers to non-Tesla EVs "is potentially a very big deal.''
The plan "should be a big help to non-Tesla EV drivers if they can use the Tesla network and if the network remains as reliable as it is today,'' he said.
While the White House said the Tesla network should be available through use of a company app or website, an adaptor — or even a new charger design — will likely be required for non-Tesla EVs, Abuelsamid said.
Even so, a question remains, he added: "Once they open it up, will (the Tesla network) still be reliable?''