There is no doubt that Tesla put in the hard yards for the EV market by setting the standard for electric vehicle charging around the world – and now brands like Polestar want to get in on the action.
Tesla’s Supercharger network is open for other EV drivers to use in some markets under the Non-Tesla Supercharger Pilot that launched back in November 2021.
That pay-to-use program allowed drivers of EVs in France, the Netherlands, Norway, UK, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Iceland and Italy to use the Tesla proprietary charging stations no matter what brand of electric car they had.
But in Australia the Tesla network remains available only to Tesla drivers. Meaning, if you buy a Volvo, Polestar, Hyundai, BYD, MG, or any other electric car, you can’t use the Supercharger sites to quickly and conveniently charge your car.
Fredrika Klaren, Polestar’s head of sustainability, told Australian media this week that she had to put petrol in a car for the first time in a decade during her trip here, and that she “never wants to do that again”. But, she admitted, it is a reality in places like Australia, which are notably behind when it comes to the rollout of EV charging networks.
But, as Ms Klaren says, Polestar isn’t planning to build charging stations around Australia or any other part of the world, because the relatively young brand has a few other priorities to consider – like launching a range of new models over the next three years that will enhance the brand’s appeal to potential EV buyers.
As such, she said that accessing fast-charging networks like Tesla’s would only enhance that appeal for buyers who aren’t yet sold on the notion of how they’ll be able to charge when they do decide to venture away from home.
“One thing that could solve a lot is if Tesla would decide to open up their charging stations in Australia. We really were so excited when they did that in Sweden, and the EU. It’s a very smart move,” she said.
When asked if Polestar would consider working on its own network of charging locations, it was a pretty firm ‘no’ from Ms Klaren.
“We’ve decided not to do that, because we have a lot to do. We will put all of the finances into the cars … and we also do it because we think it is the wrong way to go about creating the infrastructure [ourselves],” she said.
“The EU and policymakers all over the world are putting money – a bit late in the game – but they are investing now in this charging infrastructure. So we’re deciding to put all of our resources into the cars,” she said.
CarExpert asked Tesla Australia for comment on the future expansion of the brand’s pilot program, but there was no firm answer on the current situation.
However, the company’s senior vice president of powertrain, energy and engineering, Brew Baglino, has said previously: “We’ve publicly committed, yeah, we do plan to provide third-party vehicle access in all over the world, not just in Europe where our original pilot was.
“We are working on solutions in North America, which is a little bit more problematic with our connector being different than others, but we are moving in that direction.”
Tesla chief Elon Musk further stated: “There’s more to be said on that part. Yeah, we want to do the right things with respect to the whole system.”