Question Of The Week Answers | 01 Aug 2021

Episode 1164,  Aug 01, 11:00 AM

Today’s big EV stories: • Your answers to Question of the Week • Patreon thanks

Show #1164.

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Good morning, good afternoon and good evening wherever you are in the world, welcome to EV News Daily for Sunday 1st August. It’s  Martyn Lee here and I go through every EV story so you don't have to.

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I understand that Tesla-owners want to have the SCs for themselves, but from a broader point of view, opening up will help speed up the transition to electric cars even more. 

But there are still a lot of questions to be answered before we get the whole picture. First of all, we need to know if the chargers are 100 % CCS compliant? The easy part is to get it to work; the hard thing is safely handling faults. CCS is much more than the plug and the communication. Many safety features are built into the electrical hardware of a CCS charger; do we find all of this in an SC? If not, how will take have the reasonability if something goes wrong? 

For the US and Canada, we need to know if they will need to have CCS plugs. Will they do this with an adaptor or adding CCS cables to the chargers. I really hope they go for the latter; adding an adaptor is adding risk and problems. I do not like adaptors, especially from a safety point of view. I hope Tesla understand this, even if Elon did indicate an adaptor solution in the Earnings Call.   

One added benefit of going for a separate CCS cable is that it can be longer. Tesla has until now made it easy for themself by only charging their own cars also when it comes to the layout of the charging site. It is much harder to build a good charging site when you have to consider that the cars do not have a standardized location of the charge port. After many years of deployment of charging infrastructure, I know that this significantly limits the layout, especially for larger charging sites. This will also be a problem for Europe, even if we already have CCS on the SuperChargers. Maybe Tesla needs to allocate some of the charging stalls for other brands and equip them with longer cables and more space.

If Tesla are going to allow others onto their network, I really can't see it being a free-for-all. We already know that CCS isn't always reliable due to the laughable 'standard' and many manufactures, and TESLA is the opposite. So are we going to end up with an Apple iStore type experience where you have to meet high standards before they'll let you on? It's going to take a lot before TESLA allow you into their system.

One word - inevitable! :)

As a non-Tesla EV owner, it would be great if Tesla opened their network to all, that being said, I can understand if some Tesla owners, who have helped pay for the network, are unhappy. Personally I can see Tesla doing this in places like Norway and perhaps other places where they are given government incentives to open their network, or public charging infrastructure is already pretty advanced. As for the U.S. I cannot see them opening their supercharger network any time soon as the supercharger network remains a huge competitive advantage here.

As a Tesla owner, I’m not happy with the prospect of having to fight off the great unwashed hordes in order to charge, but as an EV enthusiast I’m in favor of whatever increases EV adoption rates.  But the whole thing would be much fairer if Tesla would put out a CCS adapter that it’s current fleet could use on other networks.  Currently there is only the CHAdeMO; it’s always backordered and will be going away over time.  I’m surprised there hasn’t been more mention of CCS reciprocity in the many discussions I’ve heard.

The supercharger network was a major influence in my purchase of my Model 3. I readily admit from a selfish point of view, I am a bit disappointed in the Musk announcement. However, as an EV advocate, I think it is good news. I do think Tesla owners should be given priority, however. My suggestion how to do that is by computer. If all stalls are busy, make them only available to Tesla owners until a certain minimum number of stalls are free. I think this could be easily and automatically software controlled, and status could be displayed on the app just as it is now on Tesla vehicle screens. The app could say, for example, “Station “X” - stalls 1a, 1b, [or more if most stalls available] universally available.” Or, “Station ‘X’ currently experiencing high volume, no stations universally available at this time,” as the other extreme. All info could be available on the app, even possibly with notifications sent if one station is a selected as the destination.  This should keep Tesla owners happy. I don’t think this should be a difficult programming solution. Hopefully this won’t be an issue, and Tesla can keep ahead by installing more stations. On a side note, I honestly would be willing to consider another EV as my next car, Mach-E? Ioniq 5? …as my next car if I can access the supercharger network. I hope it doesn’t blow up in Elon’s face. 

Having owned a 2018 Leaf and now a Tesla Model Y with one 1400 mile road trip of experience I can give a little insight.  The Leaf only had a 150 mile range so it would have to stop at almost every supercharger along a route. The Model Y with twice the Leaf's range could skip superchargers (and we did). So in the beginning when they open up the supercharger stations they will almost all have a queue. They will need to install new stations at the smaller places like the one in Ocala, FL. That one was full of teslas the whole time we were there and another took our spot as soon as we pulled out. I can imagine there would have been a much longer wait if there we're also other brand EVs in line..

as a 2016 Model S driver with free super charging I'm all in favour of it being opened up. I'm confident that Tesla will deploy sufficient charging infrastructure that we won't have unacceptable queuing. I think it's a very sensible move for Tesla to establish itself as the biggest global charging network. 

Using pricing to encourage people to only take what charge they need to get to their next destination is a sensible idea. We need to get away from the ICE refuelling model where people expect fill the tank to full and move to what I call the Bjorn Nyland refuelling model where you get just enough to get you to your next stop. It's far more efficient from your personal point of view and also better for everyone else as it minimises time at chargers and maximises turn over.

There are occasions where you do need to get to 100% but those occasions are reducing significantly as charging is more generally available. Maybe there could be an exception for say 4 times a year, where you don't get charged a ramp up rate for the last 20%. That would limit people abusing it but would be fair for when you really do need the extra charge.

The biggest asset and argument for driving a Tesla is gone. 
Everyone has immediately pictures in his mind with full Supercharging stations and long queues of waiting EVs… and Tesla Owners who are having a deep red head and kicking against their car because of they are totally frustrated… Making fotos of totally overfilled stations and sending them via Twitter to Elon by putting hundred of angry smilies behind… :-)

BUT - Long term view, I guess we all will benefit from.
First of all,  Tesla will have a much better utilization of their network. I’m pretty sure that the network does not have a very high occupancy today. 
With more charging customers, they will make more money, which they will reinvest in expanding significantly the network according to the last Earnings Call.
And overall it will bring down the costs. Would I buy again a Tesla by having the Supercharger Network open for all EVs?
A clear YES. Without being completely Telsa blind. There are really nice and interesting EVs on the market now or coming soon

I think that opening the Tesla Supercharger network to non-Tesla's is a good idea, if done properly.  It would increase the speed of EV acceptance, at least in the US, where the non-Tesla network is still lacking, especially if you aren't on interstate highways. 

It could be positive for the Tesla company, as they could tout this change--correctly--as a benefit to society.  Further, as the years go on, and the non-Tesla network expands to the point that it is bigger than the Supercharger network, Tesla owners would feel welcome sharing the non-Tesla network. 

But for it to work, there are several things that might be implemented.  First, there should be complete transparency as to who is using the Superchargers, for how long, and how often that people have to wait to get a charger.

Second, the non-Tesla users should pay a premium--perhaps 20%-30% more than they pay at Electrify America--for the power.  Finally, to avoid Tesla owners having to wait in line to charge because the Supercharger lot was full, there should be a reservation system.  

As a Tesla owner in Australia, opening up the supercharger network. It’s good for the entire EV industry to eliminate range anxiety so people won’t be afraid to switch to an EV.
A lot of country towns have only a single charger other than the superchargers, so you’re stuffed if it is not working. Given Tesla’s focus on transitioning the world to sustainable energy, it makes sense for them to help people get over the hurdle of range anxiety, whatever the brand of vehicle they are considering.
I also doubt it will have a big impact on occupancy since the vast majority of EVs in Australia are Tesla’s anyway. So probably a big PR win without much of a drawback.

My perspective here is as a Tesla driver, but also as someone who is more concerned with the big picture and the long term. So from that perspective, Tesla opening up the supercharger network to others can only be a good thing for all of us. It's such a high profile infrastructure that it can only encourage more people to change to EVs. As we see Gridserve whipping the Electric Highway into shape in the UK, I really do not have any concerns over being able to get access to good quality charging.

It's also interesting that on the Tesla Q2 call, Zach said that higher utilisation of the supercharger network makes it more profitable, which feeds back into more superchargers, so again it's a win win.

> I think it has to be done in a way that doesn’t inconvenience TESLA owners too much, and a different price might be the easiest lever to pull, say 80p per kWh. This ensures all competitor chargers continue to receive traffic and income (the last thing we want is to slow down other charger deployments), but gives the busy exec or road tripping driver the assurance of reliable/quick charging.
> I would happily pay 80p (most of my consumption is still 5p but time is money once I’ve used up my home electrons), but most won’t so avoids being overwhelmed.
> Plus keeps the nice smug factor for TESLA owners, and when the rest of us see the benefit of a reliable network, would likely help Tesla vehicle sales too.

No, except in dire emergency - when non-TSLA CCS2 owners should be charged 2 x or 3x the TSLA Rate.
Even before I bought my 3LR, and was driving my beloved BMW i3 BEV, I felt that TSLA Chargers are paid for by a far-sighted company, and its customers.
Other manufacturers could have done this, but didn't (although Ionity/EA is achieving it accidentally, due to VW ...Gate).
Now that I have my Model 3, I feel that I paid extra to have access to the Supercharger network, and I'd be cross if I couldn't charge because a non-TSLA was hogging all the stalls.

In the grand scheme of things any kind of sandboxing is bad for the overall EV-adoption. Optimally every EV would have the same type of plug socket on and all chargers would be open for everyone. If we're lucky that might happen within a couple of decades, but despite the periodic contents of the Twittersphere I don't expect the SuperCharger network to go open any time soon.

it would be great! I am sure a phone app and a adapter would do the trick to give all EVs access to the current hardware. As for the politics of it, I will stay out of that. 


What’s the ideal location for a charging port on any EV? Petrol filler caps are usually in the same location and forecourts all the look the same. Is it time we encouraged EV makers and charging suppliers to standardize socket location and charger design?

Email me your thoughts and I’ll read them out on Sunday –