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Tesla considers opening Superchargers to other EV makers

Posting in Technology

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Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told shareholders that he planned to doing something to boost electric car adoption that would be "kind of controversial with respect to Tesla's patents." Now we have a better idea about what Musk is thinking.

Supercharge the EV world

At the UK launch of the Model S, Musk said he's thinking about opening up the design of Tesla's Supercharger network to create a "standard technical specification that other electric car makers can adopt," Engadget reports. In the process Tesla would also likely give away some intellectual property.

What's a Supercharger network?

Tesla's worldwide network of fast-charging stations for Tesla Model S electric cars. The 100-plus stations are free to use for any Model S owner (the cost is tacked on in the price of the vehicle). And, according to Tesla, Superchargers are "the fastest charging station on the planet" with 30-minutes of charge yielding 170 miles of range.

How would releasing intellectual property help Tesla?

The idea here is that we don't have individual gas stations for individual car brands, so the same should be true for electric car charging if EVs are ever going to compete with gas-powered cars. Access to EV-charging infrastructure that can work with any EV is key to electric cars taking off. Musk's idea could help with that.

But will other companies go for it?

It's not clear. They would likely need to go along with Tesla's free electricity for life policy. They would also have to go in with Tesla on the costs to run and maintain the stations. However, automakers have complained about Tesla's Superchargers before, so this could make them happy.

Photo: Flickr/jecoopr

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— By on June 9, 2014, 2:42 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure