Elon Musk convinced the industry to charge cars his way and Tesla owners are the biggest winners

Elon Musk convinced the industry to charge cars his way and Tesla owners are the biggest winners

Elon Musk Tesla

  • Some Tesla drivers worry the EV-maker sharing its plugs will impact their charging experience.
  • But actually, Tesla drivers are likely to have more places to juice up going forward.
  • Other charging providers will have to offer Tesla’s tech, and Tesla will likely grow even more.

Tesla drivers are about to have a lot more places to plug in.

Naturally, some Tesla owners are worried about sharing space at Supercharger stations — the primary longtime differentiator between Tesla and other EV makers — once Ford and GM EV drivers get access.

But experts say that the crowds are likely to thin as more non-Tesla stations convert to Elon Musk’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector. With newfound revenue from additional users, Tesla will also have the means to expand the network even further from the roughly 20,700 plugs already in North America.

The auto industry has struggled for years to agree on a standard for EV charging, and it appears Tesla is finally winning the battle. Other major charging providers like Electrify America, Blink, and other big names will soon be able to accommodate Teslas.

“All of this is happening because the automakers are fed up with the non-Tesla fast charging network customer experience and reliability,” Loren McDonald, CEO of market analysis firm EVAdoption, told Insider.

“The foundation of this, and why we’re seeing more and more automakers announce that they’re doing this, is because fundamentally they’ve realized how critical the charging experience is to your ability to sell EVs,” McDonald added, “but also keep existing customers happy and retain them so that three or four years down the road, they buy another one of your EVs.”

Teslas have always used the NACS connectors, which is the only connector compatible with the Supercharger network. Ford, GM, and Rivian all recently announced that their vehicles would also soon be fitted with the NACS connector, all but forcing other charging companies to adopt the standard to stay relevant.

Growth trajectory

The Supercharger network is already the most robust fast-charging network globally. In the the first quarter of 2023, the number stations grew 33% to 4,947 from 3,724 the year prior. The number of charging plugs grew at roughly the same rate, hitting 45,169 in March.

Now, it’s likely new revenue will enable Tesla to bolster the charging business even more — further assuring Tesla owners that the exclusivity of the network and charging capabilities won’t be lost as others join in on the fun.

Cathie Wood, Ark Invest CEO, told CNBC in a June interview that, “What’s interesting about this is it does help Tesla underwrite the charging station expense.” Wood is a notorious Tesla bull, with a $2,000 price target on Tesla stock by 2027.

“If you look at Tesla sales they are highly concentrated on the coasts,” Wood said. “Now, it’s going to make a lot more sense for Tesla to roll out charging stations that much faster throughout the country.”

“Tesla is smart, right? Tesla has so much data,” McDonald added. “This whole concept will have been a failed exercise if all of a sudden, two years from now everybody’s waiting 30 minutes at hundreds of Superchargers because of all the other automakers. I just don’t think Tesla’s going to allow that to happen.”

Infrastructure is key to EV adoption

More chargers, whether from Tesla or third-party providers, will only mean more buyers. That’s huge for the entire industry, experts have told Insider. It’s also a big win for Tesla as the company matures from scrappy startup to mass producer of electric cars.

Adding to its already robust Supercharger network would add to Tesla’s moves into the mass market this year, including price slashing and more traditional incentive packagesTesla’s plan to act like a normal car company is working out so far; it reported another record for deliveries in the second quarter.

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