CarCharging Group Promises Tesla-Friendly Charging Stations Following Patent Release

The CarCharging Group, Inc. — the firm responsible for owning and operating one of the largest electric car charging networks in North America — will be implementing Tesla Supercharger support into its network.

The news comes following the announcement two weeks ago from Tesla CEO Elon Musk that Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] would be making all of its electric car patents open source under a ‘in good will’ arrangement with the rest of the auto industry, and marks the first official announcement from any electric car infrastructure provider that it intends to Support Tesla’s proprietary charging system.

Tesla Model S Charge Port Door -- U.S. Spec

The CarCharging Group, Inc., says it will incorporate Tesla-friendly charging stations in its network.

Designed by Tesla for use in all of its electric cars made after 2012, Tesla’s Supercharger technology is the fastest and most powerful charging technology in use in the electric car world today. Capable of providing up to 135 kilowatts of direct current (DC) electrical power, it can provide 170 miles of range to a Tesla Model S sedan in under 30 minutes, or charge an 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack from empty to 80 per cent full in a little over 40 minutes.

The CarCharging Group, Inc. currently maintains and operates a large charging network across the U.S., including charging points previously owned by the Blink Network, 350 Green, Beam Charging and EVPass. These networks, acquired last year by the company, massively inflated its revenue, making it one of the largest charging networks in the world.

In its official press release from Thursday last week the company said it would add Tesla compatibility to all of its existing Blink-branded DC quick charge stations. Totalling 119 locations in all, the company said it would add Tesla DC charging capability to the units at the same time as upgrading them to include CCS quick charge standard, dramatically increasing vehicular compatibility for the network.

Originally installed as CHAdeMO DC quick charge stations, the 119 locations are currently only capable of quick charging compatible cars like the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi i-Miev. After the upgrade, cars like the Tesla Model S and CCS-ready cars like the BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf will also be able to quick charge from the same unit.

There’s no word on how quickly the upgrade will take or what will be required, but it’s worth noting that while CCS and Tesla compatibility will be added questions still remain over power levels and fees for charging.

Tesla's Superchargers are currently the preferred way for Tesla owners to refuel their cars.

Tesla’s Superchargers are currently the preferred way for Tesla owners to refuel their cars.

Tesla’s Supercharger technology is capable of working at speeds of up to 130 kilowatts, but existing charging stations on the Blink network are 50 kilowatt units. Since both current CHAdeMO and CCS quick charge stations operate at 50 kilowatts — and presumably existing electrical installations on site are wired for 50 kilowatts rather than 130+ kilowatts — it’s unclear if the Tesla connector will offer a maximum of 50 kilowatts or if the upgrade process will involve a costly rewiring at each location.

Then there’s an even tougher question: the costs associated with plugging in. Unlike Tesla, the CarCharging Group makes its money from charging customers every time they plug in, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk famously disagrees with charging at point of use for electric car charging.

In past discussions on the subject of charging infrastructure, Musk has always stated that anyone wanting to work with Tesla needs to subscribe to the same ethos when it comes to paying for fuel, where power is paid for by the automaker on behalf of its customers and not directly by customers.

Given Nissan has used The CarCharging Group, Inc., as a partner for its EZ Charge program, there’s a possibility that a similar ‘free at point of use’ system could be worked out between Tesla and CarCharging Group. Until we know more about how the system will work however, we’re going to reserve judgement on if this implementation of Tesla Charging technology sits within the ‘good faith’ clause set out by Tesla in its great patent giveaway.

Given that including Tesla technology in existing charging stations will only be beneficial to electric car owners however, we think this will ultimately be a good thing for EV adoption rates. Don’t you?

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