Tesla Superchargers for non-Tesla drivers
Tesla Superchargers are… pretty super! It’s what’s made being a Tesla driver so special since the first Supercharger was installed in the UK in 2014. But for the longest time only Tesla drivers have been able to benefit from them…
Tesla have opened up some of their Supercharging network of chargers to non-Tesla drivers. What does this mean for those who drive a Tesla already, and how could this help non-Tesla drivers? What does it cost? And what are the pros and cons of this decision?
In this blog, I’ll help you understand what it all means if you either drive a Tesla or not – and how to use them, too.
Can non-Tesla cars use the Superchargers in the UK?
Yes, they can, but only a select few. And only if your car has a CCS connector (Type 2 only won’t do I’m afraid!).
Tesla want to keep their large piece of the EV pie, so they’ve opened up 23 of their 1000+ Tesla Superchargers in the UK for non-Tesla owners as an extended trial (as of May 2023), to see whether they could feasibly make all of them open to non-Tesla drivers.
It seems they’re very much making this their long-term mission – time will tell how it all unfolds.
Where are the non-Tesla superchargers?
You can find the non-Tesla Superchargers at 23 of their sites across the UK, including: Folkestone, Banbury, Birmingham, Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Cambridge, Manchester, Liverpool, Dundee and Aviemore, plus 5 in and around London and a few more just outside near Reading and Guildford.
The online Tesla supercharger map is great because you can filter it to find just the non-Tesla Superchargers… neat!
How do non-Tesla drivers use a Tesla Supercharger?
Once downloaded, you’ll need to register for an account with your email address and card/payment details. Tesla will charge you for the electricity you use through the app. You have to use the app – you can’t use contactless card on the charger itself… because it doesn’t have a screen!
Select Charge your non-Tesla in the app and then it’ll let you choose which site you’re at. Then you’ll need to select which stall you’re at; there’ll be a little number (usually at the bottom of the charger) with a letter, something like “3B” or “4A”.
Tap Start charging and your non-Tesla will begin to charge up, lovely.
Here’s something worth noting: even though the Supercharger could in theory charge up to 150kW, even if your non-Tesla has a higher max charging speed than that, it may not charge at that top rate. That’s because Tesla battery packs run a different voltage to other manufacturers – we won’t go into it here, just take our word for it.
Tesla Supercharger costs – what will you pay?
As of May 2023, it costs a Tesla driver 52p/kWh. This varies depending on location, time of day and how fast that specific Supercharger is.
As of May 2023, it costs a non-Tesla driver 65p/kWh, again varying on location and so forth.
So, it’s currently on average 13p/kWh more for non-Tesla drivers to use a Supercharger. Whether this increases or decreases in time we’re yet to see but… them’s the breaks for the moment.
There is a membership though for non-Tesla drivers that’ll give you cheaper rates… but you’ll have to pay monthly for it. Check the app for more information.
Things to remember when charging
Tesla’s have their charge ports right at the rear corner of the car, so the tethered cables on the Superchargers themselves are not that long.
Other manufacturers have put their charge ports in different places, so you’ll need to get yours as close to the charger as possible. Just don’t cut other people off or block the space next to you, you’ll get some nasty looks and possibly a few choice words.
It’s also worth pointing out that some chargers use the same electricity supply (i.e. stall 1A and 1B for example). That means if there’s someone charging on 1A, if you use 1B you would effectively be slowing down their charge. If there’s another free that’s not in use, try to prioritise that one instead.
Tesla Superchargers: a brief run-down
“The largest global, fast charging network in the world”
A Tesla Supercharger is, fairly obviously, an electric car charger made by Tesla. It’s unique because up to this point car manufacturers hadn’t created a chain of bespoke car chargers just for their customers. It was a huge selling point for Tesla drivers.
The reason they’re super is because they’re extremely quick. It’s said they can add up to 172 miles of range in just 15 minutes, revolutionising the way in which EV drivers travel long-distances. Gone were the days of waiting 3 hours per charge. Back in the mid 2010s, if you were a regularly covering long distances and wanted to go electric, a Tesla was the only viable, useable option really.
They strategically placed them on major routes in the UK and around the world meaning Tesla drivers never need suffer from range anxiety or worry about being late.
But fast forward a few years and the other manufacturers have caught up. More consumers are moving to other companies for their premium EVs and, despite a Tesla remaining one of the most sold and registered cars recently, that means we need more chargers.
The pros and cons…
For non-Tesla drivers:
- You’ll benefit from faster, more reliable electric car chargers and a wider network in the UK…
- But you’ll penalised with higher prices for not driving a Tesla. Annoying.
For Tesla drivers:
- More people queueing in slower charging cars for what were previously your chargers…
- But Tesla makes more money. More money means more software updates and exciting things for you, as a Tesla owner, to enjoy…
Will this work?
Only time will tell, but it’s certainly on Tesla’s radar to open more and more sites up to non-Teslas. After all, last year we started at 15 and now we’re at 23… the number is climbing!