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Tesla Supercharger network is now partially open to rival electric cars in the UK

As part of a trial, 158 Superchargers are now compatible with EVs from other brands

Tesla Supercharger
  • Supercharger network will open to other electric cars
  • Slow-charging cars could incur higher tariffs
  • Tesla models get cheaper Supercharging than other brands

A selected number of UK Tesla Supercharger locations are now open to other electric cars, not just Teslas. The Supercharger network had been a big part of a Tesla’s appeal, but now you can take advantage of the network if you drive rival EVs such as the Volkswagen ID.3 and BMW i4.

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A total of 158 chargepoints at 15 UK locations are part of the trial. Surprisingly, they are spread out, with two in Scotland, two in Wales and others in Manchester, Banbury, London, Folkestone and Cambridge. Other Superchargers now open to non-Tesla drivers are in Spain, Sweden, Belgium and Austria, as well as the initial trial countries of France, The Netherlands and Norway. Tesla says its Supercharger network is now Europe’s biggest fast-charging network.

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To access the Supercharger, you’ll need to download the Tesla app and add a payment method. Then plug in the car and press ‘Start Charging’, and press ‘Stop Charging’ once you’ve finished.

Non-Tesla drivers will pay a premium to use the Supercharger network (60p per kWh), but a £10.99 monthly membership is available that promises lower costs, which could be useful if you’re going to be regularly plugging in to one of these locations. Idle fees, charged if you overstay your time at the chargepoint, apply as they do to Tesla drivers.

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Tesla boss Elon Musk has previously said that Superchargers in "all countries" would be available to EV drivers "over time".

Vehicles with slower charging rates could be charged extra, presumably to keep a flow of cars through the charging points and avoid delays for other drivers. "If the charge rate is super-slow then someone will be charged more,” Musk said. “We’ll also be smarter with how we charge for electricity at the Supercharger,” indicating prices may be adjusted in accordance with demand. Supercharger stations are currently being upgraded to provide up to 300kW.

Model S at Supercharger

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The Supercharger network has been limited to Tesla models until now and has been a key selling point for the brand thanks to the availability, speed and reliability they offer owners at 25,000 locations globally. Opening up the network is likely to prove controversial for Tesla owners but Musk said: "Our goal is to support the advent of sustainable energy. It’s not to create a walled garden and bludgeon our competitors.”

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Access was historically protected through the use of a proprietary charging cable but starting with the launch of the Tesla Model 3, the brand has shifted to using the same Type 2 and CCS charging sockets as other mainstream electric models like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.3.

What does it mean for car buyers?

As the government's ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030 approaches and people begin switching to electric cars, a shortage of public charging points becomes a very real prospect. Opening up the Supercharger network is a shrewd move by Tesla, not only because it can help with the mass adoption of EVs but because it also gives the American manufacturer a healthy revenue stream. 

Giving EV owners of all brands - including those with more affordable models than Tesla currently sells - access to reliable charging stations in prime locations will certainly help. However, the addition of the Supercharger network alone won't be enough to satisfy demand; SMMT estimates 700 charging points need to be opened every day between now and 2030 to support the market. That’s far more than the current rate of 42 chargers per day.

Read our complete guide to electric car charging stations and costs, or check out our in-depth review of the Tesla Model 3
 

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