American EV giant, Tesla has been planning to tap into public funding of US to build EV chargers, as it moves to open some of its U.S. Supercharger network to EVs made by other manufacturers.
The EV leader is bidding for a portion of billions in federal and state dollars that are up for grabs in coming years as the Biden administration, auto makers and many states try to accelerate a fast-charger build-out along highways to reassure drivers that they can travel without fear of losing power.
Tesla already has a national network of fast EV chargers for its own drivers, but they aren’t available to other types of vehicles in the U.S.
For a year, the company has said it plans to open its U.S. network to others, though details about timing and whether it would open existing stations or new ones have been sparse.
Recent regulatory filings and other documents indicate that the company is applying for public funding that, if granted, would require access by other makers of EVs to the network.
In June, California’s energy-agency staff proposed awarding Tesla $6.4 million toward building chargers in rural areas, according to grant documents. The company also applied for charging grants in Texas last November, though it didn’t win funding there, which was given to the first companies that applied, other documents show.
According to a White House fact sheet in late June, Tesla will by year-end “begin production of new Supercharger equipment that will enable non-Tesla EV drivers in North America to use Tesla Superchargers.”
Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment. Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted last year that the move would happen over time globally. Senior Vice President Andrew Baglino said in April that the company was still working toward that goal in the U.S. It launched a pilot program last year that allows non-Tesla drivers in parts of Europe to use its charging network.
The moves come as the Biden administration prepares to give states $7.5 billion for charging stations, money included in the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by Congress last year, and as states ready plans for how to build out their slice of a national charging network.
Tesla has 1,440 Supercharger sites with around 14,600 chargers for its drivers.
Tesla has been building its Supercharger network for several years and has a system popular with drivers that is considered easy to use. So far it has 1,440 sites with around 14,600 chargers for its drivers, who can also access other sites available to all kinds of EVs.
“Michigan will need about 10,000 Supercharger by 2030 to meet the state’s goal of 2 million electric vehicles,” said Sarah Nielsen, executive director of electric transportation at Michigan utility Consumers Energy Co. “So pretty much every little bit helps right now.”
The state has around 225 fast chargers available to all drivers, according to federal data.