Updated January 22, 2024

Considering most gas vehicles can use the same basic fuel from any gas station, you might wonder if a similar idea applies to electric vehicles. However, there’s a short answer when it comes to Tesla vehicles: no. Only some non-Tesla electric vehicles can use Tesla’s superchargers by adding a specially-made adapter to charge. Tesla car owners have access to more than 1600 supercharger charging stations in the US. For Tesla owners, topping up their cars has been convenient, seamless, and fast because the charger is well-designed for Tesla cars.

On the other hand, non-Tesla EV car owners also rely on Tesla superchargers to charge their vehicles. Tesla announced they are opening 7500 more superchargers to the public by the end of 2024. Should we wait for Tesla superchargers to recharge our electric cars?

Automotive engineers from Consumer Reports tried two of the chargers with different cars. They used Mercedes-Benz, Lucid, and Kia electric vehicles. Here is what they experienced.

Charging Non-Tesla Cars With Tesla Superchargers is Expensive

Depending on the Tesla car model, owners pay between $10.95 to $18.14 to charge their cars. According to the Consumer Review report, charging a non-Tesla car with a Tesla supercharger is the most expensive car charging option.

In most EV charging stations, you’ll pay between $0.48 and $0.55/kWh if you drive a non-Tesla car and are not subscribed. Many supercharger stations charge $0.49/kWh, which is more expensive than Electrify America, which charges $0.48/kWh. To use the Tesla supercharger, you must download the Tesla app. The app is designed for Android or iOS and requires users to create a profile and add a payment method.

After adding the payment method, users must pay $12.99 for a monthly membership subscription. With this subscription, the charges can reduce to $0.39kwh. However, idle fees are charged if you leave the vehicle at the charger after getting full, which is $1 per minute.

A report shows that by 2030, electric cars will make up around 40% of the automotive market. Tesla cars take about 40 minutes to charge. But non-Tesla cars take more than an hour to charge fully. So, once electric cars increase on the roads, there will be much traffic at the recharging stations as each driver waits for their turn. This may cause charging prices to rise as the demand increases.

Tesla’s Magic Dock Isn’t Available in All Public Charging Stations

Tesla has a built-in adapter called the Magic Dock, connected to the supercharger, that fits non-Tesla vehicles’ charging ports. Unfortunately, not all Tesla’s public charging stations have the Magic Docks. So, as a non-Tesla car owner, you must use the Tesla app to locate the nearest station with Magic Docks.

According to one report, you may have to drive over 150 miles to get the adapter, which doesn’t take into account the potential wait you’ll have for others to finish charging. Considering each car can take over one hour for a full charge, you may have to wait for several hours to get a chance to recharge your vehicle.

Many Americans hope that Tesla will improve the newly renovated 1,700 public charging stations. Unfortunately, though, there were no significant improvements in terms of the charging adapters and the parking slots as part of Tesla’s expansion. So, even as we wait for the launch of the 7500 Tesla stations at the end of 2024, many non-Tesla car owners fear the company would make many improvements that place their customers first.

Non-Standardized Placement of Charge Ports in Different EVs Causes Trouble

Tesla cars have their charging ports at the rear right side, which is where the company’s charging stations are designed to reach. Many other car models have faced many problems charging their cars because sometimes the charger adapter, an extension of the standard Tesla charger, does not fit in the port.

One of the cars that owners have faced challenges with is the Nissan Leaf. The Nissan Leaf’s charging port is at the front, with a port on the hood above the Nissan logo, while Tesla’s is at the rear. Because Tesla’s charging stations are designed differently, it has proven difficult for Nissan Leaf drivers to charge their vehicles. Some of the drivers on a testing mission tried to park the car facing the charger as opposed to how Teslas are parked to make it possible to connect the charger. However, that didn’t solve the issue; unfortunately, the adapter cannot fit in the port.

A Nissan Leaf uses a charger that allows for CHAdeMO charging. Other stations support this charging method but are less common than Tesla. Examples are ChargePoint, Electrify America, and EVGo. The owners’ biggest challenge is searching for stations that accommodate the CHAdeMO using a special app.

Kia is the car model that at least shares the charging port location with the Tesla. It’s located on the rear right side. As such, Kia owners would be lucky to use these chargers, but still, the charger would not fit in the port. As if that was not enough, charging with the adapter is considered slower.

Mercedes EQs are incompatible with the Tesla charger because their charging ports are on the side. This means you can take up to two or three parking spaces at the supercharger station to charge the car. The automotive engineers from Consumer Reports had to park the car across, which could result in getting fined.

The Chevrolet Bolt EVs also suffer the same problem as other non-Tesla cars. The car has a charging port at the front part after the driver’s door. This makes charging as complex as the Mercedes EQ because you must park it across.

Non-Tesla Cars Are Claimed to Charge at a Slower Rate

Apart from the long process of connecting the charger through Tesla app instructions, the charter is believed to charge non-Tesla cars slowly. When Consumer Report engineers tested the three car models, they seemed to charge the vehicles more slowly compared to how a fast supercharger should recharge the EV batteries.

Many car owners have complained about the complicated process of connecting the charger with the adapter. Although adapters are already fitted in the cord and the power charging uses DC, connecting the charger is a multi-step process:

The first step is to select the “Charge Non-Tesla” option on the app. The second step is granting the app location permission by entering the address near your charging location. Finally, you must locate the charging station by selecting the “Charge here” option.

Once you get into the parking, you must follow the app instructions to connect the charger, and later, you need to pay for the charging. Many car owners are uncomfortable with the step considering the charger is slow on non-Tesla cars, and the charges are higher than the Teslas’.

Install a Home EV Charger

A charging station at your home will be the ultimate convenience if you are an electric car owner, allowing you to avoid the high charging costs and queueing times at the recharging station.

Let experts install your home charging station for your EV in Des Moines, IA. At Golden Rule, we’ve installed countless of charging stations for homeowners. Along with plumbing services, HVAC maintenance, and more, we’re here to help with just about anything your home might need. Contact us at Golden Rule today!

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