Tesla is facing pressure from the US government to open up its EV charging network to competitors. The Biden administration is offering $7.5 billion in subsidies to increase the number of charging stations in the US, and Tesla could miss out on this funding if it fails to comply.
On April 9th, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is expected to finish drafting a requirement that will put pressure on Tesla to add the charger used by rival electric-vehicle makers. If Tesla does not comply, it could be locked out of the $7.5 billion in subsidies.
Tesla’s SuperCharger network has more stations in the US than any other charging company, but they can only be used by Tesla cars. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously spoken about opening up the SuperCharger network, but has not yet taken any public action.
Tesla has already seen a boost from the Biden administration’s EV push in February. The DOT tweaked its $7,500 tax credit consumer incentive plan to include more eligible models by expanding the definition of an SUV. This increased the potential demand for some of Tesla’s models.
Last month, Musk met with two White House officials to discuss ramping up EV production and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes the legislation on charging equipment.
Opening up the SuperCharger network to competitors like Ford, GM, and Rivian could take some of the shine off Tesla’s brand, by removing its customers’ exclusive use. However, it could also be a new revenue stream for Tesla in addition to any subsidy windfall.
The DOT and Tesla have yet to respond to requests for comment. It remains to be seen whether Tesla will comply with the new requirements and be eligible for the $7.5 billion in funding.