With the growing popularity of Electric Vehicles (EV) and the increased number of brands now offering EVs, the question on many people’s lips is ‘Will I be able to charge my EV with Tesla Chargers?’ In this article, we will answer this question.
Tesla chargers work with certain Electric Vehicles but the Supercharger network is currently limited to Tesla except in certain European countries.
You can’t turn on the TV nowadays without being bombarded with the latest EV adverts. But the range anxiety is real when driving an EV so many people ask can I use the Tesla chargers for any Electric Vehicle. Let’s look at the possibilities.
Charging at Home
The majority of EVs are charged at an owner’s home. All EVs come with a standard home charger. Although Tesla cars are phenomenally popular, because so many other brands are now offering an Electric alternative, chances are pretty high that you may be on your second or even third EV. And these subsequential EVs are not necessarily all Teslas.
So the question is if you have spent money installing a Tesla Wall Connector, can you charge a non-Tesla with the same unit? This unit would have cost up to $2000 to install so unless you can charge any EV with this unit, you may be reluctant to go with another brand.
But the answer is yes, you can charge other EVs but some adjustment needs to be made, and not all EVs will be suitable.
Most EV brands use the Combined Charging System (CCS), whereas Tesla uses a proprietary connector specific to Tesla. If you have a Tesla Wall Connector you can buy an adapter – J1772 – to allow the non-Tesla EV to be charged at home.
J1772 connectors are specific to certain car brands, so check this before you race out and buy the adaptor or more importantly the car. VW, BMW, Mercedes Benz, and Ford all use the CCS connector.
These adaptors are widely available and come in a variety of Amp variations. 40A, 50A, and 80A.
Lectron is available to buy but is only available as a 40A. TeslaTap is another alternative available, with more choices – 40A, 50A, and 80A, check out the links below for prices delivered to your door.
Check out the Lectron here on Amazon.com.
Check out the Teslatap here on Amazon.com.
It’s good to also know that Mr. Musk (Tesla) was offering Gen2 J1772 connectors on the Tesla website for a short time at the end of 2021 as well as the proprietary connector. It has since been removed and we’re unsure why but hopefully this will be reconsidered and it will return as an option, as it would mean the beginning of standardization of EV charging.
That being said, it is fantastic that the option of the adapter is available and the hardware that is in situ can be utilized.
So what happens when you’re out and about in your EV. Can you charge anywhere you go?
Charging at Destination Charges
Let’s assume you already have a non-Tesla EV and are wondering if you can charge your EV at a destination charger.
What is a destination charger? Basically, these chargers are widely available at places of interest – Hotels, Parks, Restaurants. They allow you to charge your EV whilst doing other activities. They provide AC power in a 100 – 240V output, so unlikely to fully charge your EV while you’re at dinner, more of a top-up.
Destination charging stations offer chargers for both Tesla and EV. They offer a J1772 connection which makes them compatible with all CCS EVs. There is no need for any special adaptations, you just plug it in.
However, now that you can purchase an adapter as previously mentioned (Lectron or TeslaTap) you now have the added option or advantage of using the Tesla Destination Chargers. Plugin your adaptor and attach it to your car and begin charging. The advantage of this is much more chargers available to you along your journey.
Charging at a Supercharger
Charging your EV daily at home is the optimum way to care for your Lithium-Ion battery. Recommendations are to charge your EV to 80-90% and not to allow it to drop below 20%. However, not everyone has access to a Wall Connector. In all cases, you can plug it into a 120V socket, but we will be time-traveling by the time this method gets your car to 90%. (Well, not really, but you get the gist!)
If this is the case, and it is for lots of EV owners, both in apartment living and rental accommodation, then the only alternative is to use Destination Chargers or Superchargers.
What is a Supercharger?
Back in 2012, Mr. Musk and Tesla introduced the Supercharger network in the USA. There are currently 3000+ Supercharger Stations that have multiple chargers at each location, amounting to 30,000+ chargers.
They rapidly charge a Tesla using a 480V DC which means you can charge your Tesla to 80% in approximately 30 minutes. But the key point is that they are Tesla Superchargers, installed and maintained by Tesla.
Owning a non-Tesla means that currently in the US you can’t plug into a Supercharger and avail of this fantastic facility.
However, all is not lost because, in November 2021, Elon made an incredible announcement. He has declared to the world on many occasions that his dream is to rid the world of ICE vehicles. To boost this he announced that future plans are to allow non-Tesla users to have access to his Superchargers.
This is not as easy a task as you would imagine, as the technology used in his Superchargers is specific to Tesla connectors.
He has made a step forward in parts of Europe – The Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, and Norway – where a selection of Superchargers are now available to non-Tesla EVs.
Users can simply download the Tesla app and select ‘Charge your non Tesla’, select the payment option and begin to charge.
This is very much a pilot scheme. It is something that has to be considered in Europe by Tesla as there are new laws being introduced to standardize charging of EVs.
That’s not to say that it won’t become the norm but Supercharger connections can’t be used in the majority of EVs as they have a different connector. So the Superchargers across the states would have to be retrofitted with CCS connections.
Well, if they’ve done it in Europe why can’t they do it in the US, I hear you ask? Well, for one, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. The availability of Superchargers to all EVs is only about 10 per country, yes 10! And the other main reason is European Teslas have different connectors than American ones which make it easier to change the European chargers.
Alternatives to Superchargers
So for the foreseeable future non, Tesla EVs can’t use any Tesla Superchargers in the US. Other networks have superchargers in their sights and they are being funded and supported by other car brands.
ChargePoint for example is one of the largest networks after Tesla and has agreed to collaborate with the National Association of Truck Stop Owners to install 4000 DC fast chargers in the next 10 years.
Electrify America is also making great strides with a number of high voltage fast chargers. And although they are expanding their network, currently 1580 chargers, when you compare that to 30,000 Tesla, they’re just not at the races.
So it would be great if Elon follows through on his announcement to make the Tesla Superchargers available to all. But for now, we’ll have to wait and see.
You may find the following posts helpful:
Electric car not charging (external link evjuicedup.com)
Is Supercharging bad for a Tesla? (external link evjuicedup.com)
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.