Tesla Opens Some South Korea Superchargers To All Electric Vehicles

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As Tesla got massive buy-in from automakers in the United States to use its North American Charging Standard (NACS), effectively giving access to Tesla Superchargers to the vast majority of future electric vehicle models, some of us have wondered if Tesla would also open up Supercharger access to EVs in other countries.

Of course, opening up Superchargers to non-Teslas actually started in Europe. Tesla started trialling this at select stations a couple of years ago. It seems the reason for it was to qualify for subsidies and, even more importantly, government permits to install Superchargers in various places in Europe. Opening up Superchargers in Europe was one thing. It seemed targeted and minor, limited in scope. The US story in which most automakers are now planning to design EVs with the NACS charge port by default is something else, though. (Also note that Tesla uses a conventional CCS port in Europe but uses its original, unique NACS port in the US.)

But why would Tesla open access to Superchargers in other places? In Europe and the US, there was clear motive. In South Korea, I’m not sure.

Two things come to mind. First of all, maybe South Korea is also implementing policies that incentivize open charging standards and charging stations. The other is what I’ve been pondering since the NACS took off and automaker after automaker adopted it. Tesla could end up with a semi-monopoly on good, high-speed charging in many places — and there’s a lot of money to be made from a semi-monopoly!

In pretty much every country I’ve read about people taking EV road trips, they have criticized the unreliable, problematic fast chargers. Tesla’s Superchargers often stand out for their reliability, abundance, and ease of use. If Tesla Supercharger use grows and broadens at this time, it seems likely Tesla could come to dominate the EV fast charging scene, and could also attract more new buyers. Of course, a monopoly would risk getting broken up or heavily regulated. But a semi monopoly — one in which there were other options but they were not used much because they didn’t compare — a company could make a healthy profit. Is profit what’s driving Tesla to expand Supercharger access in South Korea? Who knows? Let’s keep an eye on this trend, though. What countries could be next?

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