Tesla opening up its Supercharger network to rivals could be a brilliant marketing move from a company that famously doesn’t advertise — at a big risk — Autoblog -Dlight News

Tesla opening up its Supercharger network to rivals could be a brilliant marketing move from a company that famously doesn't advertise — at a big risk — Autoblog

For the first time, Tesla is opening its Superchargers in the US to drivers of non-Tesla cars. Tesla plans to open its 3,500 fast-charging plugs to all electric-car owners by the end of 2024. Until now, Tesla’s Supercharger network was only for Tesla owners in the US. Some experts say the plan could boost Tesla’s brand and ultimately help it sell more cars. If you’ve owned any electric car that isn’t a Tesla, you’ve probably looked longingly at the brand’s sleek supercharger stations, which are common and famously easy to use, but historically off-limits to outsiders. But all that is changing. Tesla has decided to open thousands of its roadside fast-charging plugs to all electric vehicle owners by the end of 2024. The move gives Elon Musk’s firm a new revenue stream and allows it to seek public funding for charging infrastructure. Some industry experts also believe that welcoming outsiders into Tesla’s walled garden could be a smart marketing move, especially for a company that shuns traditional advertising. According to Lauren McDonald, CEO of EV industry consultancy EVADoption, the supercharger network serves as Tesla’s biggest marketing ploy. Light-years ahead of other charging providers in terms of reliability, convenience and number of locations, the sprawling network helps alleviate gasoline ditching concerns and attracts buyers. Inviting owners of electric Fords and Porsches to plug in at some locations could be Musk’s crafty way to build the Tesla brand and showcase its technology to potential customers, MacDonald told Insider. “That extra brand exposure is probably a big part of the reasoning behind this,” he said. Sam Abulsamid, an auto industry analyst at Guidehouse Insights, agrees that expanding supercharger access could help Tesla sell more cars. Charging takes less time and is usually more of a social activity than getting gas quickly, which presents an opportunity for Supercharger patrons to get familiar with Tesla’s vehicles, he told Insider. “Because Tesla doesn’t have a traditional dealership, there are very few places where you can just stop and browse,” he said. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment. After years of tremendous sales growth, Tesla has recently faced questions about how the voracious appetite for its cars will survive. This year, it has slashed prices across its lineup to move more vehicles. The charging scheme is a gamble and may backfire, experts said. Some Tesla drivers may realize they don’t need to buy from Musk to reap the benefits of supercharger infrastructure. They can peek inside a Rivian R1T or schmooze with a Volkswagen ID.4 owner and realize that a different vehicle fits their needs better. “When a Ford Mustang Mach-E driver plugs in next to a Tesla Model Y driver and they chat, who knows? It could go either way,” McDonald said. Analysts see another risk: Booming demand for limited charging stalls could frustrate Tesla owners by crowding popular stations. Going forward, Tesla will need to be careful not to ruin too much of the experience for its existing customers, Abulsamid said. “You don’t want to give up the customer base that got you to where you are today,” he said. “But at the same time you ideally want to get some of those other potential benefits.”

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