Tesla is allowing other EVs to use Superchargers. Why this is a smart move.

By Nuno Cristovao
Tesla is opening up its Superchargers to non-Tesla EVs in various countries
Beat Jau / TeslaFansCH

We previously covered how Tesla plans to open up Superchargers in Norway, but Elon Musk has now said that Tesla plans on opening up Superchargers in all countries over time. We'll explain why this can be an absolutely brilliant move by Tesla.

In Europe Tesla uses a universal CCS port on their cars and chargers, making it much easier for owners to charge elsewhere without the use of an adapter. In this case though, it will also help Tesla open up their Superchargers to others.

In the US and other regions where Tesla uses their proprietary connection, it will be a little trickier. Tesla would likely need to develop an adapter from CCS to Tesla’s port. It’ll be a hurdle for any customers wanting to use Tesla Superchargers.

Why is Tesla doing this?

So here’s where it gets interesting. Why is this Tesla opening up Superchargers to others when they’re already congested in some areas? Tesla built their proprietary cable connection and their Superchargers because they had no other choice. Fast charging DC stations were simply not available when Tesla released their first Model S in 2012 (the original Tesla roadster used a different connection). So if Superchargers are not a revenue stream for Tesla, then they’ll likely be surpassed as the leader in fast charging stations.

So what I believe Tesla is thinking here is that they can get actually two hugely important things out of opening Superchargers to everyone. First, they create a new revenue stream for themselves. They’re not giving out this energy for free, and they’ll likely charge a premium for it. Secondly, with this additional revenue, they could use it to continue building out their Supercharger network and become the de facto standard for car charging. Something that surely would please Tesla owners as they can keep the simplicity of charging at Tesla’s chargers, and don’t need to buy an adapter when charging. Having a greatly expanded Tesla charging network would be a great form of advertising for Tesla and would surely help sell Tesla vehicles.

However, there is something Tesla needs to solve. Today, Superchargers communicate with the vehicle to transmit information such as how much energy was transferred and it leaves the authentication and payment details to the car.

In order to allow other vehicles to charge at Superchargers Tesla would need to change or add a way for other cars to authenticate at the Supercharger and pay for the charging session.

I still remember my first experience at a Supercharger and being in awe with the simplicity of the whole thing. The first time I used one I thought I’d need to authenticate at the charger, or maybe even on my phone. I was even ready to pay for it manually, like at a gas station. Tesla absolutely nailed this experience for its customers so I don’t believe they’re going to want to change any of that, nor should they.

Instead I believe they’ll create a payment system where a non-Tesla vehicle could go up to a Tesla Supercharger and open up the Tesla app to start a charging session. Very similar to what some gas stations do today. You simply log in, choose your pump and start pumping. The charging session would be automatically terminated when the charger is removed from the car. This will again force non-Tesla vehicles to use Tesla’s system, instead of the opposite where Tesla owners would need to use someone else’s chargers, possibly interrrupting the simplicity of charging that exists today at Superchargers.

By having non-Tesla owners use the Tesla app to authenticate their charging session, Tesla also gains a unique opportunity to sell them on a Tesla, right there while they’re waiting for their car to charge. Clever move.

CSS port?

So as Tesla expands their Supercharging network and offers non-Tesla vehicles fast DC charging, we face the question, why is Tesla still using their proprietary adapter? Sure, it was necessary in 2012, but in 2021 where so many things have changed, it doesn’t add many benefits over a CCS connection. It prevents Tesla owners from charging at CCS stations, it prevents some non-Tesla owners from their at Tesla chargers and it requires Tesla to build and manage multiple parts for their cars.

We believe Tesla will announce that all future Teslas will come with a CCS charge port, instead of the Tesla port. They will slowly switch over Superchargers to use a CCS connection and offer an adapter at the station for non-CCS Teslas.

Tesla Superchargers, Patents, and Autopilot Opened Up for Competition

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla is offering up its patents in exchange for other manufacturers' patents
Tesla is offering up its patents for an exchange

Tesla has signaled a more open approach by allowing other automakers to access its Supercharger network. This move, spurred on by a groundbreaking deal with Ford, is more than a simple act of corporate benevolence. Superchargers, now a significant profit center for Tesla, could potentially revolutionize the electric vehicle charging infrastructure by making it universally accessible.

Patents Unleashed: A Closer Look

Tesla has also made strides in the world of intellectual property, opening up select patents to other automakers. This move echoes a similar step taken nearly a decade ago when Tesla announced an open-source approach to its patents. However, the details warrant attention. Tesla isn't giving away these patents out of pure altruism. There's an important caveat; Tesla requires a cross-license deal, effectively asking for access to the other automakers' patents in return. Critics argue that this does not constitute "free" access. It's a strategic maneuver aimed at mutual growth rather than unilateral generosity.

FSD and Autopilot: A Bold Proposition

Adding to the mix, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk announced the possibility of licensing Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) technologies to other automakers. This move could transform the landscape of autonomous driving by making Tesla's advanced technologies more widely accessible. However, the practical implementation is a complex process. Past discussions about licensing self-driving technology to other automakers have not materialized, indicating potential hurdles ahead.

An Industry Gamechanger

While the recent developments have generated much buzz, the long-term implications for Tesla and the electric vehicle industry remain unclear. Directly licensing technologies and working with companies that have designed them is a viable way to accelerate technological adoption. Tesla's moves could pave the way for more partnerships akin to its early collaborations with Daimler and Toyota. However, the willingness and ability of other automakers to integrate Tesla's technology remain to be seen.

The overarching narrative here aligns with Tesla's mission statement to help accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy. By allowing broader access to its technologies, Tesla stands to propel the entire industry forward, even if it potentially narrows its competitive edge. But as Musk stated, "Patents do not define technology leadership...but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world's most talented engineers."

Whether this bold gambit will yield the intended results or backfire remains a question only time will answer. For now, Tesla continues to push boundaries, challenging the status quo in its relentless pursuit of a sustainable future.

Tesla Gears Up to Enhance Service Mode: New Features Unveiled in Upcoming Software Update

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla is making improvements to its Service Mode
Tesla is making improvements to its Service Mode

In the ongoing quest to deliver advanced vehicular technology, Tesla never fails to surprise. Tesla enthusiasts have new reasons to rejoice as a host of features are set to augment Service Mode in an upcoming software update.

Pioneering Enhancements: From Diagnostics to Calibrations

With every update, Tesla's futuristic touch becomes more evident. Michal Gapinski, creator of the Tesla Android Project, which famously enables Apple CarPlay in Teslas through a web-based solution, has shared some upcoming features to Tesla's Service Mode with us. In a forthcoming software update, Service Mode will house new diagnostic screens for seat belts, the HVAC system, and what appears to be a new window calibration screen. These screens promise to provide a comprehensive, accessible system check-up that offers valuable insights into your Tesla's health.

Sealt Belt Service Menu

Tesla is making improvements to its Service Mode
Tesla is making improvements to its Service Mode

The first new Service Mode menu appears to display details about Tesla's seat sensors, seat belts and the restraint control module (RCM). The car's visualization is displayed from the top with various areas are highlighted around the vehicle including what appears to be the seat sensors, seat belt buckles and retractors. Tesla displayed how they're tied together and how they communicate with the RCM.

New Window Calibration Menu

Tesla is making improvements to its window calibration system
Tesla is making improvements to its window calibration system

But that's not all. Tesla also appears to be adding a new menu for calibrating vehicle windows. This updated window calibration menu features a new visualization, lets you easily calibrate each window individually and displays the generation of the hardware installed.

HVAC Visualization

A particularly intriguing feature in the upcoming update is a dedicated service mode for Tesla's HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system. This unique feature will display fan RPM and temperatures in various areas, seemingly allowing a multi-angle view of the HVAC system's visualization.

Though Service Mode is tailored for technicians or Tesla owners with a deep understanding of their vehicle, it offers a new level of engagement, providing detailed insights that can help troubleshoot, reset, calibrate, and even configure new parts.

Accessing Service Mode

To access Service Mode, navigate to Controls > Software, and tap and hold on the vehicle's model name that appears underneath the car's image until a water ripple appears. Then release and type 'service' in the dialog box before hitting 'ok'. It is crucial, however, not to make changes unless you understand the implications fully, as they could negatively affect the vehicle. Moreover, DO NOT drive with Service Mode activated, as it disables critical safety features like traction control.

While the new Service Mode features are not in production yet, they are expected to debut in an upcoming update. As we eagerly await these enhancements, one thing is clear - Tesla continues to push the envelope in providing owners with an unparalleled, comprehensive understanding of their vehicles.

Stay tuned for more updates on these exciting developments as they're expected in an upcoming software update.

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Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.


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