The supercharger network is considered to be Tesla’s biggest advantage in the EV world. As of the end of Q1 2022, Tesla announced that the EV maker’s supercharger locations have grown to 3,724 sites and 33,657 supercharger connectors.
This makes Tesla’s supercharger by far the biggest and most extensive DC fast-charging network in the world. Not only that, Tesla places supercharger locations strategically along major highways, meaning, beyond sheer numbers, this makes superchargers even more useful for long-distance travel.
As a result, most EV watchers consider the supercharger network to be by far Tesla’s biggest moat against EV entrants. However, Musk doesn’t see it that way.
Speaking about the topic the Tesla CEO has previously said “our supercharger network is not intended to be a walled garden, It’s intended to be available to other manufacturers if they’d like to use it. The only requirements are that the cars must be able to take the power output of our Superchargers, and then just pay whatever their proportion of their usage is of the system. We’re actually in talks with some manufacturers about doing just that, and it will be exciting to share that news.”
Musk continued “the general philosophy of Tesla is to do whatever we can to accelerate the advent of electric cars. Electric cars are really the key to a sustainable future. It’s incredibly important that we transition away from fossil fuels.”
And in accordance with Musk’s promise, Tesla has currently opened the supercharger network as a pilot program for none Tesla EVs in the Netherlands, France, Norway, Germany, and Belgium.
In the long run, opening the supercharger network is expected to net Tesla billions in revenue. And Tesla could use the money to build more superchargers and grow the network even more.
However, in the short term allowing non-Tesla vehicles to use the supercharger network has added congestion to the network. The main reason for the congestion is obviously the added demand however, the issue is also exacerbated by the fact that none-Tesla vehicles do not communicate with the EV maker.
Currently, when a Tesla owner plans a long-distance trip, he/she can simply input the destination right on the center screen of the vehicle. And since Tesla controls both the vehicles and chargers, the EV maker can automatically plan the trip including the necessary charging stops.
If there is congestion at a supercharger site, Tesla automatically reroutes owners to lesser used supercharger locations. And Tesla also automatically preconditions vehicles before a supercharging session to improve charging speed by as much as 25%.
This allows Tesla to maximize the superchargers’ use case. However, with the addition of non-Tesla EVs to the network, this feedback loop is broken.
Related News: Tesla Implodes by 12% In a Single Day
And seemingly in a move meant to address Tesla’s lack of information on how other EVs use its supercharger network, the Austin Texas EV maker has started installing video cameras at supercharger locations.
This information comes in the way of the Tesla Owners Club Norway Facebook group and was shared by Twitter user otKris. In the post, otKris shares a statement posted by Tesla at a supercharger station regarding the use of video cameras.
Tesla’s communication reads…
"Tesla is conducting a pilot at this site, to better understand the needs of drivers of non-Tesla vehicles when charging. Video cameras have been installed for market research to track the charging experience of customers and inform Tesla if there are any areas that could be improved."
This is a great move by Tesla and the information the EV maker collects from this program will undoubtedly go long way to improving the charging experience of both Tesla and non-Tesla EV drivers.
Related News: Elon Musk Places His New Tesla Battery Bet
And for those afraid of the privacy implication of having video cameras at superchargers, Tesla addresses the issue head-on writing…
"The video footage used for this purpose is deidentified using techniques such as blurring, or pixelating, so our market research team will not know which driver charged their vehicle when analyzing the images. The system does not record audio."
Tesla also adds that the video will be erased once the pilot program ends and that the EV maker will not share any of the footage with entities outside Tesla.
Tesla posting this notice right at the supercharger stations with a detailed explanation of how the recorded footage will be used, what is being captured, and who it will be shared with is wonderful as it will empower customers to make informed decisions.
As of now, it’s not clear how many superchargers Tesla has installed video cameras on, and big the EV maker plans to grow this program. However, we will be sure to keep you posted as more information becomes available.
Until then, make sure to visit our site torquenews.com/Tesla regularly for the latest updates.
So what do you think? Do you agree with Tesla’s decision to add video cameras to supercharger stations? Also, what do you think of Tesla allowing other EVs to use its superchargers? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Image: Courtesy of Tesla
For more information check out: Breaking: Tesla To Soon Add A Second Screen To Model 3 & Y Suggests Tear-down
Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.