Tesla Turns Down $6 Million In Public Funding For Superchargers
Tesla could have taken $6 million from the state of California for its Supercharger network. However, the automaker doesn’t want to be required to integrate a payment system, and it doesn’t likely need the money as much as its rivals.
There’s plenty of funding for DC fast charging networks in the US right now since the public charging infrastructure is lacking. Tesla runs the largest and most reliable network, and it’s the quickest and most efficient at expanding. Though most of its stations are still reserved solely for Tesla owners.
As Tesla moves to open up its Supercharger network to owners of all EVs, the US federal government will give the EV maker a portion of the $7 billion it has set aside to fund the expansion of public EV charging infrastructure. To be eligible for the funds, Tesla simply had to agree to make the DC fast charging stations available to owners of non-Tesla EVs.
Meanwhile, the California Energy Commission’s Clean Transportation Program for Rural Electric Vehicle Charging offered Tesla an additional $6 million in state funding for four substantial Supercharger stations with a whopping 420 charging points. To qualify for the funding, Tesla would have to abide by specific and “unnecessarily cumbersome payment infrastructure requirements.”
If you follow the space regularly, you’re probably aware by now that Tesla tends to do things on its own, and it does them its own way. It seems somewhat rare for the company to take orders from others, even if it means bad press or losing support or funding.
A letter sent to the California Clean Energy Commission by Jennifer Cohen, Tesla’s Policy and Business Development Lead in California, reads as follows:
“The (CEC) has been a great visionary in the expansion of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in California. Unfortunately, due to unnecessarily cumbersome payment infrastructure requirements, we are unable to utilize this award.”
Tesla deals with its Supercharger payments via its smartphone app. Its Superchargers don’t have screens, keyboards, or credit card payment systems. Some people argue the lack of such tech may be part of the reason Tesla’s DC fast chargers are so reliable. There are fewer working parts that could eventually fail.
California also asked Tesla to make sure that 50% of its charging stalls offered CCS connectors. As part of the deal with the Biden Administration, the company is already using its new “Magic Dock” to ensure that non-Tesla owners can use its Superchargers.
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