It’s easy to think that you may need a Tesla to use a Tesla charging station. However, this is no longer the case because Tesla charging stations are compatible with non-Teslas.
Moreover, Tesla has upgraded the ability of its charging stations for all EVs. A non-Tesla can work with the high-voltage chargers of Tesla charging stations. But not all chargers are compatible. Some Superchargers are completely incompatible with non-Tesla EVs.
Before 2021, non-Tesla electric vehicles were advised not to use Tesla charging stations. They were advised to use other charging stations before starting planning their trips. However, Elon mentioned that non-Tesla EVs should be able to use Tesla chargers.
The idea of using Tesla superchargers is lucrative for non-Tesla drivers. This is because there are over 25,000 stations available worldwide. This is the biggest Supercharger network by a stretch. Moreover, the Superchargers are extremely fast compared to the competition.
Note that compatible Superchargers must have CCS2 connections to work with non-Tesla EVs.
Most Superchargers in the US do not have a CCS connection. Tesla is planning to introduce CCS2 connection standards with new Superchargers.
About Tesla Superchargers
Tesla Superchargers are designed to charge electric vehicles like Teslas in less than one hour. They use super-powerful 480-volt chargers, making them ideal for longer road trips.
A Supercharger can add nearly 150 miles of range to your EV. Exact timelines vary based on the make and model of the electric car.
You can use Tesla’s Trip Planner to learn about nearby Superchargers and plan accordingly.
Non-Teslas Could Charge at Teslas Before 2021
Non-Teslas could use Tesla superchargers before 2021, but the process was not nearly convenient.
It was slow, difficult, and came with a bevvy of restrictions.
More specifically, non-Tesla motorists had to use a special adaptor to use the charging stations. These adaptors were lower powered.
They could use Tesla-made equipment and tools to charge their EV.
A popular connector for non-Tesla drivers was the Tesla-to-J1772. The adapter could allow non-Tesla drivers to charge from the wall. The special connector allowed non-Teslas to achieve level 1 and level 2 charging.
Non-Tesla drivers also gained access to the network of Tesla Destination Charger outlets. The chargers were Wall Connectors owned and serviced by Tesla. Some outlets also contained J1772 stations along with Tesla’s Wall Connectors.
This means that drivers no longer need an adapter.
Popular Adapters That Were in Use
Drivers had access to plenty of Tesla-to-J1772 adapters from different vendors. This was useful for drivers who could not use a Tesla supercharger. The most popular brands were Lectron and TeslaTap.
Each brand offered adaptors that looked like dongles. They connected Tesla and J1772 sides with relative ease. In addition, TeslaTap offered a cable-less adaptor that was much more compact.
All these loopholes became redundant until the Supercharger announcement.
Musk mentioned in his Tweet that Tesla developed a proprietary charger out of necessity. This charger was necessary because electric vehicles were still a novel concept. There was no standard that Tesla could follow. For a long period, Tesla was the only manufacturer of electric vehicles.
Tesla gradually expanded their compatible Supercharger network around the world. This made it especially lucrative for non-Tesla owners.
It can be handy to keep a Tesla to J1772 connector nearby. The adaptor can help you charge your non-Tesla EV at a lower power. This is useful for increasing the longevity of your EV’s battery. Moreover, the adaptor can help you use Tesla Wall Connector.
Suppose you installed a Tesla Wall Connector and use it to charge non-Tesla EVs. You probably don’t want to buy a new wall charger for your new non-Tesla EV.
You cannot change the charger type on the wall either.
This is where your J1772 connector comes in. It uses level 1 and level 2 charging. The adaptor allows you to charge the ID.4 from the Wall Connector.
The adaptor also provides you with access to thousands of Tesla Destination Chargers.
There are over 4,500 Destination Charging stations in the US. These can be found at various restaurants, hotels, and parking garages. Destination Chargers are relatively slow and require drivers to be patient.
It will take cars a bit longer to fully charge.
However, this can be a good thing because slow charging is healthier for the battery.
Of course, non-Tesla drivers can use these charging stations. However, they will need to use a compatible adapter discussed above.
Idle fees do not apply to fully charged electric vehicles that don’t drive away. This is probably because Destination Chargers are found in rural areas. They are less likely to have a line of EVs waiting their turn.
Tesla Superchargers are, as the name suggests, very fast.
Over 30,000 Superchargers are available worldwide. They can fully charge a battery in under 15 minutes.
These Superchargers can be found throughout highway locations for convenient access to EVs.
The downside is that fast charging can damage EV batteries. That said, Tesla Superchargers can use slow charging to protect the battery.
The other drawback is that Superchargers are not.
What You Should Know About Tesla Superchargers
Owners of non-Tesla EVs are required to use the Tesla app. The minimum version of the app is 4.2.3 or later.
In the app, the user should tap “Charge Your Non-Tesla” and proceed to pay. This would allow them to use the charging station.
Some Superchargers also allow non-Tesla vehicles to use CCS common connection. Tesla has not announced official rates for using their Supercharger. Reports indicate that the Supercharger rates vary from site to site.
Let’s take a look at the standard charging rates for Tesla cars.
|Tier 1 (under 60kW)
|$0.13 per minute
|Tier 2 (over 60kW)
|$0.26 per minute
|$0.28 per kWh
Non-Tesla cars will have to pay additional fees for using these services. In fact, electricity rates for non-Tesla EVs may be higher.
Finding a Tesla Supercharger is relatively easy. This is because Tesla keeps a map of all Superchargers on their website. You can also use the Tesla app to reach your nearest Supercharger location.
The app also provides updates on the amenities available at each Supercharger. This includes Wi-Fi, restrooms, charging bays, and opening hours. The app can also inform you if the Supercharger bays are available for use.
You can use Tesla Superchargers with a non-Tesla EV if it has a CCS2 adaptor. Simply park next to the machine, plug it in, and allow the cable to dock. The Supercharger will begin to deliver power right away, as indicated by a green logo.
You can track the progress of the recharge on the car’s display. Other information includes the rate of recharging, number of miles added, and total cost. You can retrieve this information from your phone (Tesla app) if you leave the car.
Note that the charging speed may fluctuate throughout the recharging session. The charging session will be slow if there are other EVs using the station. This is because they are all sharing the same power source.
In other words, you may not get advertised charging speeds if nearby cars are connected. Charging can also slow down once your battery level increases. Charging is at its slowest if you hit 80%. At this point, the charging speed is so slow that you are better off unplugging.
As mentioned earlier, it is not recommended to use Superchargers very often. Excessive usage of Superchargers will deplete the lifespan of your EV battery. Lithium batteries are simply not designed to be recharged at a faster rate.
Always use slower AC charging if you are driving for shorter trips.
Tesla punishes car owners for unnecessarily parking at their charging stations. The company will charge an ‘idle’ fee for fully charged Teslas. The idle fee goes into effect if more than 50% of parking spots are taken.
Car owners are billed $0.50 per minute if they don’t remove their fully-charged EV. The idle fee jumps to $1.00 per minute if the charging station is full.
Make sure to keep an eye on the app to avoid the fee. You won’t be charged if you leave after being notified that charging is complete.
Tesla no longer allows its own EVs to use the charging stations for free. This means that non-Tesla owners will have to pay to charge their EVs.
However, Destination Chargers are usually free to use. You can visit any hotel or restaurant with a Destination Charger for free fuel.
Note that Destination Chargers are expensive for smaller businesses. They often paid unreasonable installation prices to have them installed. It is expected of the EV owners to make some form of contribution to owners. This could be in the form of booking a room or buying a meal.
This is why most outlets require a fee for using the charger.
Sometimes the staff may be unsure about how much to charge for using the Charger. In this case, EV owners should tip generously and not underpay for using the service. Tesla or not, EV owners are already realizing huge savings compared to petrol cars.
Tesla Superchargers are not available everywhere.
A better option for non-Tesla owners is to set up a home charging station. This would make it more convenient to charge their EVs.
The price of building a home charging station depends on the vendor. Other factors include the house itself and the health of the wiring. Older residences will require a major upgrade to facilitate charging.
Newer residences should be able to handle the charging. In this case, a non-Tesla EV can use level 1 charging with a standard plug.
It is recommended to charge an EV using a level 2 charger. This will increase the longevity of EV batteries.
Most plugs use about 12 Amps of electricity. This will provide most drivers with enough charge to drive around.
Electrical upgrades may be needed to facilitate higher charging levels. The cost of hiring an electrician may be very high. In some cases, the costs of parts and labor may exceed $2000.
Drivers will have to weigh the pros and cons of installing a home charging station.
The reason Tesla superchargers were incompatible with non-Tesla EVs is their design. Their older Supercharger stations used a proprietary plug that didn’t work with non-Tesla EVs.
This is especially true for Superchargers in North America. Superchargers in European countries utilize the CCS2 standard.
However, in the coming years, Tesla will add CCS2 connectors to new Supercharger stations.
Tesla is planning to introduce a superior version of the Supercharger. This machine, known as the Megacharger is designed to be used with all-electric trucks. It is unclear if non-Tesla EVs and non-Tesla trucks can use the Megacharger.
Tesla has big plans for their Megacharger. They want to offer 400 miles of range after only 30 minutes of charging. Rumors have it that a single Megacharger can offer speeds of up to 1MW. The fastest Supercharger only has speeds of up to 250kW.
That being said, semi-trucks tend to be incredibly heavy. It makes sense to draw from a larger power source to charge heavier vehicles.
So, can your electric car use Tesla charging stations?
The answer boils down to the type of charging station and your non-Tesla EV. It may not be possible for certain EVs to use any charging stations at all. Make sure to check your non-Tesla’s compatibility with chargers ahead of visiting one. Drivers living in ‘pilot’ countries like the Netherlands can charge their non-Teslas using a Supercharger.
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My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.