Why would Tesla open its charging station to rival EV cars?

on Jul 21, 2021
  • Tesla said it will open its charging network to non-Tesla cars.
  • Details are scarce, but one would assume this opens a new revenue stream for Tesla.
  • Tesla owners don't use the network 'as much as you might think,' a pro said.

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In a somewhat surprising move, Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) confirmed it will open its electric charging stations to be used by rival cars. The move was confirmed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk who said in a tweet “we’re making our Supercharger network open to other EVs later this year.”

But this begs the question of why would any company help its rivals.

LeBeau: details are scarce, but looking favorable

CNBC’s transportation expert Phil LeBeau said on Wednesday’s “Power Lunch” segment that key details are scarce. We do not know the exact timing or even how much this will cost users, or if this will be unique to certain geographic regions. On Tesla’s end, the company could be looking to leverage its leading footprint of charging stations and generate an entirely new revenue stream.

Meanwhile, Tesla’s decision to open itself to charge rival cars comes at the same time Washington lawmakers are proposing billions of dollars in investments towards charging stations, CNBC contributor Tim Higgins added. Tesla could become a “big winner” from this perspective as it can tap government money to increase its already large infrastructure. He said:

They are already the winners in that space if they can expand even more, that could allow them to be more dominant

Do Tesla users even use the charging stations?

Assuming that Tesla is able to tap government money, this begs the question of it can turn its charging station network into a profitable venture. According to LeBeau, Tesla’s revenue stream is not broken down per vehicle while the “vast majority” of Tesla owners charge their cars at home. He said:

They don’t use the Supercharger sites as much as you might think. They do use them, there is demand there but it is primarily for people who are going long distances or they know they have a lengthy commute.