California wants to increase the number of electric vehicle chargers in rural areas to support its push for more electric cars. Tesla wants to expand its Supercharger network in the Golden State. The California Energy Commission has now approved Tesla’s proposals to build new supercharger facilities in 4 rural communities. Each of these projects will receive a $1.6 million grant from the CEC’s Clean Transportation Program, inelegantly named the Rural Electric Vehicle Charging Program, also known as GFO-21-604.
Is there a catch? Of course there are. In order to qualify for the subsidies, Tesla had to agree to make half of each location’s chargers compliant with the CCS charging standard used by most non-Tesla electric vehicle manufacturers that sell cars in California.
According Drive Tesla Canadathe four new Supercharger locations can be found at:
- Baker – a 56 Supercharger extension of an existing facility – $4 million.
- Willows – a new 100 Supercharger facility in Northern California – $6 million.
- Barstow – a new installation of 100 Superchargers to supplement existing chargers – $4.5 million.
- Coalinga — 164 superchargers. There are already 98 stalls at Harris Ranch, so this may be an expansion of that facility — $8 million.
The 4 new installations will be supported by a Tesla Megapack battery storage unit to smooth the demand for electricity to power all these chargers. Tesla uses canopies covered with solar panels in many places in California to protect drivers from the sun while charging and also to help charge storage batteries on site. It is unclear whether new installations will do this as well.
The people at Drive Tesla Canada Immerse yourself in each project in exquisite detail, with screenshots of the actual applications, which is quite interesting. If you are curious about it, do not hesitate to visit their site. But these details are not our focus here.
What attracts the gang Clean Technica all that’s wrong with this ad is the 50% CCS compatibility requirement. The US government is also interested in having more electric vehicle chargers built in rural areas and has invested a lot of money in this initiative both as part of President Biden’s plan to add half a million chargers to across America and now under the funding provided by inflation. Reduction law of 2022.
The problem is that Tesla uses its own charging standard for the cars it sells in North America. Everyone uses CCS except Nissan, which uses CHAdeMO. In Europe, Teslas come factory-equipped with CCS 2 charging ports, so it’s a bit easier for Tesla to allow cars from other manufacturers to use its Supercharger network on the Old Continent.
Tesla would be happy to get federal funding to bolster its network of superchargers in the United States, but there’s some question as to how exactly that would work. Either there must be an adapter to connect a Supercharger cable to a CCS charging port, or separate charging cables will be needed – one with a Supercharger connector on the end and another with a CCS connector.
The first solution creates another problem: how to prevent people from stealing the adapters. The second solution cuts the number of available charging cables in half, unless Tesla owners can use an adapter for CCS chargers themselves. Still, it seems kind of silly to have a Tesla up to a Tesla Supercharger and have to use an adapter to plug in.
Another conundrum for Tesla is how to satisfy its customers if they go to a Supercharger location only to find that all chargers are being used by drivers from Volkswagen, Volvo, GM, Ford, Kia, Hyundai and Rivian. One of Tesla’s biggest selling points is access to the Supercharger network.
Drive Tesla Canada hints at a solution he calls the Magic Dock which is stored on the Supercharger itself with an electronic lock that only allows it to be used by authorized drivers who must replace it before their car is allowed to drive . Feasible but tricky to implement. It would be so much easier if everyone used a common standard, which might happen one day.
In any case, Tesla recognizes that it will eventually have to share its Supercharger network. Elon told the FinancialTimes earlier this year, “We have already opened up Tesla Superchargers to other electric cars in Europe, and we plan to roll them out around the world. It’s a little trickier in the US because we have a different connector than the rest of the industry. But we will add the rest of the optional industry connectors to Superchargers in the USA. We try as best we can to do what is necessary for the advancement of electrification; even if it diminishes our competitive advantage.
Hanging on to federal dollars would be nice too. The arrangement with California may well be a precursor to how opening up the Supercharger network to other drivers across North America would work. Recently, the great state of Texas turned its nose up at a Tesla proposal to install 700 Superchargers in the state that would power both Teslas and other electric vehicles. And yet, California has adopted a similar proposal. That’s good news, because the lessons learned in California will help make Tesla’s superior experience accessible to more drivers.
Our grandkids will be amazed when we tell them that there were three different charging standards and that EV drivers carried adapters everywhere with them. They will also be amazed that many drivers had to have special access credentials to use these chargers instead of just inserting a credit card as they would for any other purchase.
But technology is changing. There was a time when petrol stations did not exist and motorists had to buy petrol from the local apothecary. Standards are what make mass adoption possible, and Tesla will drive the adoption of standards for electric vehicle charging.
America desperately needs more electric vehicle chargers to support the transition to electric cars. Tesla has the best charging network. In the best of all possible worlds, all electric vehicle drivers could take advantage of the best charging network available, and Tesla drivers would learn to coexist peacefully with those who choose to drive another brand of electric car. “We will see,” said the Zen master.
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