There’s no doubt that Tesla is pushing hard for the EV market by setting the standard for charging electric vehicles around the world – and now brands like Polestar want in on the action.
Tesla’s Supercharger network is open to other EV drivers for use in some markets under the Non-Tesla Charger Pilot that launches in November 2021.
The pay-to-use program allows EV drivers in France, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Iceland and Italy to use Tesla’s proprietary charging stations regardless of the brand of electric car that they have.
But in Australia the Tesla network remains available only to Tesla drivers. This means that if you buy a Volvo, Polestar, Hyundai, BYD, MG or any other electric car, you cannot use the Supercharger site to charge your car quickly and easily.
Fredrika Klaren, Polestar’s head of sustainability, told Australian media this week that she had to put petrol in the car for the first time in a decade during her trip here, and that she “didn’t want to do it again”. But, he admits, it’s a reality in places like Australia, which are a bit behind when it comes to rolling out EV charging networks.
But, as Ms Klaren said, Polestar has no plans to build charging stations around Australia or any other part of the world, as the relatively young brand has other priorities to consider – such as launching a new model range in the next three year that will increase the appeal of the brand to potential EV buyers.
Therefore, he said that accessing a fast charging network like Tesla will only increase the appeal for buyers who are not yet sold on the notion of how they can charge when they decide to leave the house.
“One thing that could solve a lot of things is if Tesla decides to open their charging stations in Australia. We’re really excited when they do it in Sweden, and the EU. It’s a very smart move,” he said.
When asked if Polestar would consider working on its own network of charging locations, it was a pretty emphatic ‘no’ from Ms Klaren.
“We have decided not to do that, because we have a lot of things to do. We’re going to put all the finance into the car … and we’re also doing it because we think it’s the wrong way to create infrastructure [ourselves],” he said.
“The EU and policymakers around the world are putting money in – quite late in the game – but they are now investing in this charging infrastructure. So we decided to put all our resources into the car,” he said.
Car Expert asked Tesla Australia for comment on future expansion of the brand’s pilot program, but there was no firm answer on the current situation.
However, the company’s senior vice president of powertrain, energy and engineering, Brew Baglino, said earlier: “We have publicly committed, yes, we plan to provide third-party vehicle access worldwide, not just in Europe where the original pilot we are
“We’re working on a solution in North America, which is a little more problematic with our connectors being different than others, but we’re moving in that direction.”
Tesla chief Elon Musk further stated: “There’s more to say on that front. Yes, we want to do the right thing with the whole system.”
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