Tesla’s announcement that it is opening its Supercharger network could have a big impact on demand for electric vehicles, according to a new survey.
The American EV giant has a wide range of electric vehicle chargers all over the UK, but until this week they had been exclusively for use by Tesla vehicles.
However, various locations have now opened up to allow charging by owners of third party vehicles. Tesla’s Supercharger network regularly comes out top in polls of EV owners for their speed and reliability.
A survey of almost 1,500 people by EV website Electrifying.com found that 81 per cent of drivers would be more likely to switch to an EV if they could use Tesla’s Superchargers.
The chargers are commonly found at motorway service stations and other high-traffic areas, and can charge at speeds of between 120kW and 250kW, adding up to 60 miles of range in under five minutes.
Although the move could be seen as a negative for Tesla owners, who are used to chargers being empty most of the time, trials in Europe found allowing non-Tesla owners access did not increase wait times.
Ginny Buckley, founder and CEO of Electrifying.com, said: “”There will be a large number of electric car drivers who will be overjoyed that they will be able to use the Supercharger network at last. But it’s certain to be controversial among the fast-growing ranks of Tesla owners.
“The reliable, quick and plentiful chargers have been a major selling point but there are already complaints that the Superchargers are getting busier as sales of its cars have increased rapidly.
“If Tesla were to use the money generated from charging to fund an expansion of the network, this would help to alleviate charging anxiety that we know so many consumers have, whilst also enabling the Supercharger network to expand rapidly.”
Although charging is free or cheap for Tesla owners, non-Tesla owners will face higher pricing. Drivers can pay £10.99 per month to access a lower charging rate, but at 60p/kWh for non members it is more expensive than most public charging – for example fast charging on the Gridserve Electric Highway costs 45p/kWh.