- Tesla is retrofitting its Supercharger network to non-Tesla EVs.
- Not all Supercharger stations have Magic Docks.
- All Tesla Superchargers and Level 2 stations should be open to non-Tesla EVs by the end of 2024.
- Use the Chargeway app to find compatible Tesla stations.
Tesla has a robust network of Superchargers, and the company recently opened them to other vehicles manufactured by other automakers. In February 2023, Tesla announced its plan to open at least 3,500 Superchargers to non-Tesla vehicles.
How to Use a Tesla Supercharger Without a Tesla
Most non-Tesla vehicles use a CCS1 charging port. To accommodate non-Tesla vehicles like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4, Tesla retrofitted some Supercharging stations with a “Magic Dock” that drivers put atop the Tesla NACS (North American Charging Standard) plug. This special dock lets non-Tesla EVs charge at a rate of up to 250 kW.
Unfortunately, the retrofitted charging stations are in limited locations. When I searched the app while writing, I saw a few retrofitted stations in Texas, California, New York, and North Carolina.
Find Compatible Tesla Stations with Chargeway
The easiest way to determine if you are near Tesla Superchargers that will charge your non-Tesla is to use the Chargeway app.
After you add your EV to the app, you’ll be able to see all nearby stations and how quickly they will charge your vehicle (1 is the slowest, 7 is the fastest). Click on the filter and turn off the option that only shows plugs that fit your vehicle. You’ll then see the red circles for Tesla chargers.
If you click on the red 7s (Tesla Superchargers) on the map, you’ll see if the charging station has Magic Dock adapters because green circles will show up in the station details. In the image below, these green circles are labeled with a 4 because the Tesla Superchargers are considered “slow” fast-chargers for a Kia EV6 thanks to the charging architecture differences in the OEMs. If you have a Ford Mustang Mach-E or a VW ID.4, the number in the green circle will be higher.
How to Use the SuperCharger?
Not all Tesla Superchargers are retrofitted for CCS1 EVs. Before you embark on your journey, check that the Superchargers you plan to use have the docks that fit your EV. Use the Tesla or Chargeway apps to see what is available.
When you arrive at the Supercharger station, choose an open stall, unlock the adapter, plug in, and begin charging. Using the Tesla app, select “Start Charging” to begin and “Stop Charging” to finish.
Can You Use Your Own Adapter?
If you need access to a Tesla Supercharger, you can purchase an adapter. They are available on Amazon and easily connect the CCS1 to the NACS plug.
Unfortunately, using a Tesla Supercharger with a non-Tesla isn’t as easy as it seems. The Tesla charging network bills Tesla owners based on the VIN – not through an app. You might have issues getting the Supercharger to start charging your non-Tesla EV.
Another issue with the Supercharger and some non-Tesla EVs is the charging infrastructure, as Tesla Superchargers have a 400V system and many non-Tesla EVs have 800V systems – so the Supercharger will be slower than a 350-watt Electrify America station.
Tesla Supercharger stations have short cords, as all Teslas have similar charging port locations. Non-Tesla EVs do not have standard charging port locations, making Tesla charging stations problematic – especially if many parking spots are occupied.
Can all Non-EVs use Tesla Superchargers?
Electric vehicles that can use a DC fast-charger can use the Tesla Supercharger network. When Tesla announced they would open their network, some EV manufacturers announced they would change their charging ports to NACS technology. Ford, General Motors, Rivian, Volvo, Nissan, and Mercedes-Benz will eventually manufacture their EVs with NACS ports instead of CCS1 ports.
Now, non-Tesla EVs must use a CCS1 adapter, and they aren’t available everywhere. By the end of 2024, the entire network will open to EVs that can handle the 250 kW stations.
Why Tesla Made the Change?
In early 2023, the White House announced that it wanted to build a robust network of EV charging stations around the country. To receive federal funding for the project, manufacturers who build and install the charging stations need to make their networks open to all EV brands.
If Tesla wanted to take advantage of the $7.5 billion in the federal infrastructure bill, they needed to remove the exclusivity and open their charging network. By opening their network, they can finance new stations with federal subsidies.
Along with opening the Superchargers to all EVs, Tesla will also open 4,000 Level 2 charging stations. Plug-in hybrid vehicles like the best-selling Jeep Wrangler 4xe and the BMW 330e will be able to take advantage of the Level 2 chargers.
Have a Back-Up Plan
If you are driving a non-Tesla EV and you are planning to use a Tesla Supercharger on a road trip, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan. While the Supercharger network is one of the most reliable, it’s not a guarantee that it will fit your EV. Have a backup plan with an EV charging brand that is designed to fit your vehicle – just in case.
FEATURE IMAGE: FORD
FTC: We use income-earning auto affiliate links. Learn more.