Tesla has started to open up its huge network of charging points across the UK to drivers of other manufacturers' electric cars. A pilot has been launched to share 15 locations, totalling 158 charges, to anyone with the Tesla app.
The company says it will be monitoring usage at these locations closely so as not to hinder their own customers, but is keen to help increase the take-up of electric cars on the roads. The superchargers - known for reliability and a key selling point for the brand - can add 60 miles of range in less than five minutes.
And to mitigate the risk of annoying Tesla owners who may face more queues at these stations, the company is guaranteeing lower pricing for owners of its own cars. People can opt to become a member and pay a monthly fee of £10.99, which will grant access to cheaper kWh pricing. Non-members will pay a higher rate of about 0.60p a kWh, but prices vary by site.
Simon Williams, the RAC’s spokesman on electric vehicles, told The Times: “The fact Tesla’s widely praised charging network will start to be opened up to other electric car drivers is great news for the wider EV community - but perhaps not such good news for Tesla drivers themselves.”
The pilot started in November last year but so far has only been active in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and Norway. The expansion brings in the UK, Spain, Sweden and Austria.
Tesla say: "Access to an extensive, convenient and reliable fast-charging network is critical for large-scale EV adoption. That’s why, since opening our first superchargers in 2012, we have been committed to rapid expansion of the network.
“Today, we have more than 30,000 superchargers worldwide. Tesla drivers can continue to use these stations as they always have, and we will be closely monitoring each site for congestion and listening to customers about their experiences.
“More customers using the supercharger network enables faster expansion. Our goal is to learn and iterate quickly, while continuing to aggressively expand the network, so we can eventually welcome both Tesla and non-Tesla drivers at every supercharger worldwide.”