Confirmed: Tesla to let other EVs use global Supercharger network

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Words: Matthew Hansen
21 Jul 2021

Last month it was announced that one specific Tesla Supercharger in Norway would be tweaked to allow EVs from rival manufacturers to use it. It was a curious story, given that the Supercharger network has always been reserved for Tesla owners only.

Now, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has confirmed plans to open up the company’s entire global Supercharger network to other EVs — a bold step that some thought might never happen.

Musk tweeted the news earlier today while responding to a follower on Twitter. The initial tweet from the follower, a Tesla Model 3 owner, discussed the ongoing debate about Tesla's proprietary charging connector — engineered so that only Teslas can use Superchargers.

“We created our own connector, as there was no standard back then & Tesla was [the] only maker of long range electric cars. It’s one fairly slim connector for both low & high power charging,” Musk replied.

Then came the big news that the electric car world has been waiting on for years. “That said, we’re making our Supercharger network open to other EVs later this year,” Musk said. Quizzed about how widespread these changes would be in the responses, Musk said that the opening up of Tesla’s Supercharger network would include all countries “over time”.

As previously reported, Musk has welcomed other car manufacturers to use his company’s charging infrastructure in the past, having publicly issued the patents for his Superchargers.

The inevitable catch according to reports is that any brand that acts on the patents would not be able to make any intellectual property claims against Tesla in the future. This is to do with a pledge that anyone who uses the patent does so ‘in good faith’.

“The Pledge states that those acting in good faith will not assert any patent or intellectual property right against Tesla. Note that a company using Tesla’s patented technology is not only giving up the ability to bring an action against Tesla for patent infringement, but any form of intellectual property infringement,” said Nicholas Callura, an attorney from Duane Morris LLP.

“This includes trademark and copyright infringement, as well as trade secret misappropriation. Thus, for example, if Tesla copied a company’s source code line-for-line, that company would be required to forfeit the protection provided by the Pledge in order to enforce its rights.”

It’s unclear what kind of timeline Tesla is likely to be dealing with, in either developing an adaptor for its proprietary system or rolling out new charging connectors. Either way, this is good news for everyone with an electric car.

 

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