22 Kia EV6 RWD Tested: Long Ranger
The single-motor version of the Kia EV6 electric SUV sacrifices performance but gains range.
Outside of Tesla’s enviable Supercharger network, the public charging infrastructure for EVs in many places is grim. Oh, sure, it’s promised to get better, but how much does that help when you’re standing outside a broken charger or waiting for someone to leave a spot so you can juice up? Shoppers who prioritize range when choosing an EV minimize their interaction with the public charging network, and for those looking at Kia’s impressive EV6, that means going with the single-motor configuration. That’s the variant we’ve tested here, in the GT-Line trim level.
For 2023, the EV6 is offered with three powertrains, as the base Light model with a 58.0-kWh battery pack and a 167-HP motor has been dropped. The single-motor version now comes standard with a 77.4-kWh battery and makes 225 horsepower in the Wind and GT-Line trim levels. Those same two trims are also offered with all-wheel drive and dual motors making a total of 320 horsepower, again using the 77.4-kWh battery. And, finally, there’s the new-for-2023 high-performance dual-motor GT with a combined 576 horsepower.
The single-motor drivetrain yields the best EPA-estimated range: 310 miles. That betters the the dual-motor Wind model’s 282 miles, the dual-motor GT-Line’s 252 miles, and the EV6 GT’s dramatically lower EPA range estimate of 206 miles.
Not only does the single-motor EV6 have the best EPA range of its siblings, it also exceeds most of its competitors. The Toyota bZ4X maxes out at 252 miles, the Audi Q4 e-tron at 265 miles, and the Volkswagen ID.4 at 275 miles. The Kia falls just short of the longest-range versions of the Ford Mustang Mach-E (312 miles) and the Tesla Model Y (330 miles), but as we’ve pointed out in a recent SAE paper, those on-paper advantages may not equate to a real-world range advantage at highway speeds.
Driving the EV6
The downside is that the single-motor EV6 doesn’t have the sports-car quickness of the dual-motor version. In our testing, the dual-motor all-wheel-drive GT-Line zipped to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, while the single-motor GT-Line took a more languid 6.7 seconds. It was a similar story looking at quarter-mile times, with the dual-motor car’s 13.3 seconds at 102 mph well ahead of its single-motor sibling’s 15.2 at 93 mph. Of course, pulling away from a stop isn’t always a time trial—or so we’re told—and the single-motor EV6 moves through traffic eagerly enough, particularly at city and suburban speeds.
The rear-wheel-drive GT-Line came to a halt from 70 mph in 168 feet, although for gentle stops, some drivers might not have to use the brakes at all. In the highest (i-Pedal) setting, brake regeneration allows for one-pedal driving, but drivers who don’t want that much regen can choose four other levels, including none—all selected via the steering-wheel paddles. The EV6’s cornering is capable if not eager, mostly due to the rather lifeless steering, and on the skidpad, the car demonstrated 0.87 g of grip. Much more noteworthy is the ride quality, as the EV6 shows impressive composure over bumps, with zero harshness making its way to the cabin.
That cabin features a mod-style design with a striped pattern on the dash that repeats on the center armrest, and illuminated blue stripes appear under the vents. The suede seat upholstery with synthetic-leather trim is 295 extra (and unavailable on the Wind model), and its white accents brighten the otherwise black cabin. The rear seat cushion is low—necessary, perhaps, to create adequate headroom for six-footers under the squashed roofline (here’s where the mechanically similar but boxier Hyundai Ioniq 5 has an advantage). The seat is plenty wide for three, though, and the floor is flat.
LOWS: Can’t hustle like the dual-motor version, some annoying controls, less roomy inside than the Ioniq 5
Up front, dual screens dominate the dash. The central display is impressively broad, although, on the home screen, that space is largely wasted, as the default display is just a clock. Beneath it, the touch-sensitive climate controls oddly also do double duty operating the audio system, meaning you have to toggle back and forth between the two sets of functions. The digital instrument cluster is slightly configurable, with the center section able to show driver-assist info, a trip computer, turn-by-turn directions, or tire pressure. The center console projects out over a large, open storage bin, and on top, there are cupholders, covered storage, and a spot to charge your phone wirelessly. Shifting is via dial, and there are also buttons for seat heating and cooling, the parking camera, and the parking sensors.
The 2023 EV6 GT-Line in single-motor form currently starts at 54,225—there’s also the EV6 Wind, which can be had in the same configuration for 50,025. For the GT-Line, the single-motor powertrain saves 4700 over the dual-motor version; in the Wind trim level, the difference is 3900. So, we see that those who have mastered the art of patience are rewarded with a fatter wallet as well as the ability to travel greater distances before plugging in.
2022 Kia EV6 Long Range RWD Vehicle Type: rear-motor, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
PRICE Base/As Tested: 48,795/53,985 Options: GT-Line trim (sunroof, Highway Driving Assist 2, park assist, HomeLink, auto-dimming rearview mirror), 4200; Steel Matte Gray paint, 695; GT-Line Suede Seat package, 295
POWERTRAIN Motor: permanent-magnet synchronous AC, 225 HP, 258 lb-ft Battery Pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 77.4 kWh Onboard Charger: 10.9 kW Transmission: direct-drive
CHASSIS Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink Brakes, F/R: 12.8-in vented disc/12.8-in solid disc Tires: Kumho Crugen HP71 EV235/55R-19 101H
DIMENSIONS Wheelbase: 114.2 in Length: 184.8 in Width: 74.4 in Height: 60.8 in Passenger Volume, F/R: 52/48 ft 3 Cargo Volume, behind F/R: 50/24 ft 3 Curb Weight: 4395 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS 60 mph: 6.7 sec 1/4-Mile: 15.2 sec @ 93 mph 100 mph: 18.0 sec Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec. Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 6.7 sec Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.6 sec Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.7 sec Top Speed (gov ltd): 118 mph Braking, 70–0 mph: 168 ft Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.87 g
EPA FUEL ECONOMYCombined/City/Highway: 117/134/101 MPGe Range: 310 Mi
June 2023: GM follows Ford’s lead, joins Tesla charging standard
General Motors has confirmed it will join Ford in switching from the mostly global CCS charging standard to Tesla’s Supercharger format, officially known as the North American Charging Standard (NACS) – a somewhat prescient name, it turns out.
Announcing the news today [↗], GM CEO Mary Barra said the Tesla network represents the only certain way to satisfy EV owners in a market otherwise overflowing with faulty roadside charging stations.
“Our vision of the all-electric future means producing millions of world-class EVs across categories and price points, while creating an ecosystem that will accelerate mass EV adoption, Barra said.
“This collaboration is a key part of our strategy and an important next step in quickly expanding access to fast chargers for our customers. Not only will it help make the transition to electric vehicles more seamless for our customers, but it could help move the industry toward a single North American charging standard.”
The news is unlikely to affect markets outside of the US, with Europe and Australia now firmly established as CCS-standard markets (See our story linked below for an explainer on plug types).
EV Charging Explained: Home Public Charging, Power Plugs
Sponsored by GET Electric, this is a guide to charging your electric vehicle at home or on the road – including an explainer on plug types and charging levels
May 2023: Ford is switching to Tesla’s charging standard and its popular Supercharger network
- Ford EVs sold in North America to adopt Tesla charging connector
- Adapter to be offered for current owners
- Questions still loom about how it will integrate
In a surprising move for the continent’s top-selling automaker, it will ditch the common Type 1 / Combined Charging System Standard 1 (CCS1) port standard in favour of Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector in two years.
The landmark move will allow Ford’s next-generation EV models to access Tesla’s 12,000-plus Supercharging public DC network in the United States and Canada – which has long been lauded for its ‘plug and charge’ convenience, availability, and reliability.
While Tesla is already opening some Supercharging sites globally to all EV models, this is the first time another car manufacturer will integrate with its network using the built-in NACS.
Tesla’s charging connector is smaller, lighter and combines slow AC and fast DC charging into one unit.
But what about Australia?
Tesla’s NACS connector didn’t appear in old Model S and Model X EVs locally (they used a modified Type 2 standard instead) and the company has now transitioned all models, including the popular Model 3 and Model Y, to Type 2/CCS2.
So, it’s unlikely that Ford EVs will adopt the NACS outside of its home continent.
Additionally, the Blue Oval will offer current F-150 Lightning ute, Mustang Mach-E SUV, and E-Transit van models with a Tesla-developed CCS1 to NACS adapter from early next year to access 250kW DC capable V3 Superchargers only.
Its software will also support the activation of charging sessions and payment via its FordPass or Ford Pro Intelligence connected services.
All Ford owners will still be able to access standard public AC and DC charging stations in North America, including future models with the built-in NACS port (presumably via an optional adapter, as is the case with current Teslas).
Questions still loom…
Why does that matter?
Tesla’s older V2 and V3 Supercharging stalls have been notorious for their short cables (addressed in the latest V4), which has made reaching Ford’s current left-front wheel fender port placement difficult.
Furthermore, it’s unclear whether Tesla will still charge Fords a more expensive charging cost as per current non-Tesla EVs on compatible sites.
This week, the Blue Oval admitted that large electric models with gigantic batteries are untenable, prompting its second-generation three-row SUV and ute to FOCUS on improving aerodynamic efficiency.
In Australia, the Ford E-Transit electric cargo van just launched into showrooms and the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV will arrive by the end of this year, as a pricier alternative to the models such as the top-selling Tesla Model Y, Kia EV6, and Toyota BZ4x.
Australia’s best electric cars for 2023
We’ve tested nearly every EV below six figures in Australia to rank the best on sale today
Kia ev6 tesla supercharger
Kia’s EV6 has ultra-Rapid charging speeds, a long range of over 300 miles, and lots of interior space. The EV6 has an impressive maximum charging rate of 350kW, which means it can charge up to 62 miles of range in just over four minutes. Models include a choice between a 229hp rear-wheel drive EV6 and a 325hp four-wheel-drive version, both have a 77.4kWh battery.
How to charge the Kia EV6
The Kia EV6 uses the CCS charging standard, which consists of a combined AC and DC inlet port. The top portion of the inlet is for the Type 2 connector, which is used when charging at home, or at public slow and fast AC points. Both the upper and lower sections on the inlet are used to carry high power during Rapid DC charging. The Kia EV6’s CCS charging inlet is found on the off-side rear flank, where the side of the car joins with the rear.
The Kia EV6 is able to be slow, fast and Rapid charged from public points, depending on the network and type of charge unit. In most cases, slow charging requires a 3-pin-to-Type 2 cable, and fast charging a Type 2-to-Type 2 cable, one of which is usually supplied with the vehicle. For Rapid charging, the vehicle uses a tethered CCS connector which is part of the charging unit.
The Kia EV6 uses two charging standards for its inlets – Type 2 and CCS. The Type 2 inlet is used when charging at home or at public slow and fast AC points. The CCS inlet is used to carry high power during Rapid DC charging from a CCS connector.
Charging on AC or DC requires the EV driver to plug the connectors into the correct inlet, after which the car then ‘talks’ to the charging unit to make sure there is a power supply, that there are no faults, and that it is safe to start charging. If charging at home or at a workplace charge point, the vehicle then automatically starts charging.
On a public charger, an activation process is required to initiate charging. Depending on the network provider, this may involve the use of Zap-Pay, an RFID card or a smartphone app, often linked to an account which has been set up beforehand. Contactless pay-as-you-go units are also becoming more common on newer units. Once activated, the units will conduct further connection and account checks before starting to charge the vehicle.
How long does it take to charge the Kia EV6
The Kia EV6 is fitted with an 11 kW on-board charger for Type 2 AC charging as standard. This means that even when connected to a fast charger with a rated output above 11 kW, the Kia EV6 will only be able to charge at up to 11 kW. Kia EV6 models are capable of ultra-Rapid charging at up to 225 kW DC.
The following table shows approximate times to charge the Kia EV6. We recommend charging to 80% charge in order to protect the battery and maximise efficiency.
Note that the times shown are only a guide, as very rarely will an EV need to be fully charged from 0%. Other factors that might vary the charging time include ambient temperature, in-vehicle energy loads, any upper and lower charge restrictions to extend battery life and protect against potential damage, and charging rates slowing down as the maximum charge is reached.
|7kW charging to 100% in hours||22kW charging to 100% in hours||50kW charging to 80% in hours|
Use our Home Charging Calculator to estimate charging times for the Kia EV6. The level of battery charge, connector power rating, and on-board charger options can be tailored to your requirements for more accurate results.
How much does it cost to charge the Kia EV6
The cost to charge the Kia EV6 is primarily driven by the cost of the electricity, which itself varies by the type of charge point and the efficiency of the motor.
Zapmap monitors the cost of charging on a monthly basis. Our charging Price Index shows the weighted average PAYG pricing, based on real charging sessions for the previous three months.
The table below shows these split by power rating.
|Type of charging||Price per kWh|
|Home charging||34p /kWh|
|Slow/fast charging||48p /kWh|
|Rapid/ultra-Rapid charging||74p /kWh|
In general, home charging provides the cheapest per mile cost and public Rapid charging tends to be around double the cost.
To find the cost and times to charge an EV on a public charge point, our Public Charging Calculator calculates charging costs for any new or used plug-in vehicle. The results can be personalised for different electricity costs and the level of charge required.
Charging the Kia EV6 at home
To find the cost and times to charge an EV on a public charge point, our Public Charging Calculator calculates charging costs for any new or used plug-in vehicle. The results can be personalised for different electricity costs and the level of charge required. Charging at home is often the most convenient and cost effective way to recharge an EV. Government grants are available to help accelerate the provision of EV charge points in flats and rented accommodation, and a large number of companies offer a fully installed charge point for a fixed price.
Most home chargers are either rated at 3 kW or 7 kW. The higher powered wall-mounted units normally cost more than the slower 3 kW option, but halve the time required to fully charge an EV. Many plug-in car manufacturers have deals or partnerships with charge point suppliers, and in some cases provide a free home charge point as part of a new car purchase. We recommend shopping about beforehand as there are a number of suitable products on the market.
Charging the Kia EV6 on the public network
The UK has a large number of public EV charging networks, with some offering national coverage and others only found in a specific region. Major charging networks include bp pulse, GeniePoint, GRIDSERVE, InstaVolt, Pod Point and ubitricity.
Payment and access methods across networks vary, with some networks taking cross-network payment solution Zap-Pay, others providing an RFID card and others a smartphone app to use their services. While most require an account to be set up before use, many Rapid units now have contactless PAYG card readers.
Although some EV charge points are free to use, the majority of chargers require payment. Charging tariffs tend to comprise a flat connection fee, a cost per charging time (pence per hour) and/or a cost per energy consumed (pence per kWh). For more information about network tariffs, visit our public charge point networks guides.
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Kia EV6 vs. Tesla Model Y: Which One Wins?
When it comes to crossover electric vehicles, no name on the market has more power than the Tesla Model Y. Tesla’s outstanding range, interior and it factor have helped the company rocket to the top of the charts as far as EV sales and adoption. Of course, being at the top of any list means your competitors are coming for your throne, and that’s doubly true with the Kia EV6.
Over the past decade or so, Kia has enjoyed a brand revitalization unlike the automobile industry has previously seen and, because of that, all eyes are on its electric plans. With plans to have half of its global sales be electric by 2030, this is no half-measure by Kia as they are fully committed to their EV lineup.
Can the Kia EV6 dethrone the Tesla Model Y as the crossover SUV EV to beat? Let’s find out how these two vehicles compare and which one might be right for you.
Kia EV6 vs. Tesla Model Y: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Date of Release||February 2021||March 2020|
|Range||206-310 miles||303-330 miles|
|0-60 Speed||3.2 seconds (GT trim)||3.5 seconds (model dependent)|
|Charging Speed||20-80% in 20 minutes, just over 7 hours on 240V charger||Up to 162 miles in 15 minutes at Supercharger, 8 hours on Level 2 charger|
|Number of Seats||5||5-7 (optional third row)|
|Cargo Space||24.4 cubic feet||30.2 cubic feet|
|Self-Driving||Highway Driving Assist, semi-autonomous driving assistance||Enhanced Autopilot, Full Self-Driving Capability|
|Warranty||5-year 60,000 mile basic10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain||4-year 50,000-mile basic8-year, 120,000-mile powertrain|
Kia EV6 vs. Tesla Model Y: What’s the Difference?
When it comes to pricing, the good news is that the Kia EV6 and the Tesla Model Y are not so far apart as to be a huge factor. There are considerations about what you get for the price as far as range, features, autonomous driving, etc., but if price alone is your primary consideration, these two vehicles are not super far apart.
The Kia EV6 starts off at 48,700 for its Wind RWD trim level, which is considered the base model option. You can up the price by 500 if you choose a premium paint color like Glacier or Snow White Pearl as well as an additional 1,500 for the Wind Technology Package (which includes blind spot detection, remote Smart parking, surround view monitoring, etc.).
At the top end, the GT trim level offers AWD and a significantly faster 0-60 speed all while jumping up in starting price to 61,600. The same considerations also apply to spending another 500 or a premium paint color but, for the most part, Kia doesn’t offer a whole lot of packages to significantly increase the cost.
However, with five different configurations possible as far as trim levels, you can pick how much you want to spend based on range or AWD versus RWD.
Tesla Model Y
Tesla has made pricing much easier with the Model Y with only two trim levels to decide from. The Model Y Long Range starts off at 54,990 with a few different options that can increase your cost. These available selections include a premium exterior paint color, moving from 19” to 20” wheels, adding a tow hitch, selecting a white interior (instead of the standard black), and adjusting from a five to seven-seat interior.
The Model Y Performance starts off at 57,990 and offers similar considerations around premium paint choices, tow hitch, and interior color but only comes in a five-seat configuration. The biggest price consideration for any Tesla Model Y will be whether to include Enhanced Autopilot for 6,000 or Full Self-Driving Capability for 15,000.
If pricing isn’t the primary factor for you, range very well might be and, for the most part, this is an area where the Tesla Model Y has been able to set itself apart from the competition. Only two of the five possible Kia EV6 configurations with the Wind RWD and GT-Line RWD offer 310 miles of range, which is as close to the Tesla as Kia is going to get.
If you opt for the Wind AWD or GT-Line RWD trims, you’re looking at 282 and 252 miles of range, respectively, in those configurations. The GT AWD, the premiere Kia EV6 trim level with the highest top speed and fastest acceleration, can only muster 206 miles of range on a single charge.
Now compare the numbers of the Kia EV6 to the Tesla Model Y and it’s easy to see why Tesla is setting the standard as far as crossover SUVs. The Model Y Long Range offers the longest possible range on a single charge with 330 miles. This number dips a little down to 318 miles if you select the larger 20” induction wheels, 326 miles with the seven-seat configuration, or down to 314 miles if you go with seven seats and the 20” wheels. The Model Y Performance includes 303 miles of range as standard and there are no mix-and-match possibilities with wheels or seating arrangements that can negatively impact the overall range.
When it comes to charging, the Kia EV6 and the Tesla Model Y are much more competitive than with range.
As you look at the Kia EV6, it’s clear that Kia considered charging speed from the very beginning of their EV designs. Charging from a Level 2 charger at home is pretty standard fare adding up to around seven hours of recharging for a full battery. Things get a little more interesting if you use a DC Fast Charging Station (800v) which can provide up to 217 miles of range or 10-80% for the Wind and GT-Line RWD trim levels in approximately 18 minutes.
Should you need to charge while on the road, the Kia EV6 can be recharged at one of the over 41,400 available charging stations in the United States that support 400v DC fast charging. One final perk awaits all EV6 buyers as Kia is throwing in 1,000 kWH of charging credits on the Electrify America network which works to be around 3,000-5,000 miles of driving range depending on which EV6 model you purchase.
As competitive as the Kia EV6 is with charging, Tesla isn’t too far behind thanks to its large Supercharger network that offers 1,400 independent locations around the country. This number doesn’t include the 40,000 and growing Supercharger plugs available around the country which significantly increases charging availability. When you plug your Tesla Model Y into any available Supercharger, you receive around 200 miles of driving range in approximately 15 minutes. If you plug into the Tesla wall plug at home, as a Level 2 240V charger, you can expect to receive around 30 miles of range per hour fully charging your Model Y in around 6.5-7 hours.
Looking at the technology of both vehicles is an exercise in the vision of how both manufacturers believe the interior of cars should look both now and in the future.
For Kia, it’s been careful to balance the type of interior many drivers are used to with knobs and buttons while also creating a heavier emphasis on screen usage. To that end, Kia has included dual 12.3-inch displays that make up the entirety of the EV6 dashboard. These panoramic displays provide all of the diagnostic, navigation, convenience, entertainment, and vehicle information any EV6 driver could want. When paired with the heads-up display, drivers have yet another opportunity to learn about route guidance and keep their eyes safely on the road ahead.
Like Tesla, Kia has taken huge steps forward with smartphone access allowing both Android and iOS users to remotely manage vehicle charging, set cabin temperatures before entering the car, and monitor energy usage.
As far as Tesla, the Model Y has had its FOCUS based entirely on the beautiful 15-inch touch screen that controls nearly every aspect of the vehicle. Outside of a few buttons like window controls, volume control on the steering wheel, or shifting gears, the Tesla Model Y is controlled entirely through the touch screen. This is as basic as selecting a radio station to navigate to the nearest Supercharger station, checking battery status, or opening up the rear tailgate of the vehicle or the front trunk. Tesla has also leaned heavily into entertainment to provide its customers with something to do while recharging as well as ensuring just about every aspect of the vehicle, including turning it on and off, can be controlled via the smartphone app.
Driver assistance is a big topic for electric vehicles lately as conversations around autonomous driving and its future continue to push more into the mainstream. Tesla has been at the forefront of this conversation with its CEO, Elon Musk, continuing to hype the company’s potential. Kia, on the other hand, is making slower progress into the autonomous driving stage, preferring to add driver assistance features that help increase overall safety.
This means the addition of safety options like Highway Driving Assist 2 which incorporates a front-facing camera, radar sensors, and GPS navigation data to make sure you are driving a safe distance from vehicles in front of you while moving at high speeds on major roadways. It also means Kia is adding things like Auto Emergency Braking Technology to help avoid potential collisions with oncoming vehicles or pedestrians when turning left through an intersection.
Tesla, on the other hand, has gone all in on Driver Assistance with its Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability. The former enables automatic lane changes when enabled, auto park, and Smart summoning of the car from a parking spot to the driver using the smartphone app. Full self-driving is much more futuristic as the Tesla Model Y will have all of the enhanced autopilot features plus traffic light and stop sign control and, in the future, auto steering on city streets.
Kia EV6 vs. Tesla Model Y: Which One is Better?
This is definitely one of the tougher choices electric vehicle shoppers will have in the crossover space. If you like the cool factor of the Tesla Model Y, there is no question you are going to lean that way.
However, the Kia EV6 is likely the better option for most buyers as it is more practical price-wise with a wider range of trim levels, but it doesn’t quite hold up to the Tesla Model Y range. Still, Kia has made huge leaps with its more futuristic interior and if you can sacrifice some games and fart noises, the Kia EV6 is the better option for most people.
Kia EV6 vs. Tesla Model Y: Which One Wins? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Which of the two vehicles has more available cargo space?
With 30.2 cubic feet of storage space including the front trunk, the Tesla Model Y wins out over the Kia EV6 and its 24.4 cubic feet of space.
What is the 0-60 difference between the Tesla Model Y Performance and Kia EV6 GT?
The fastest Kia EV6, the GT trim, can do 0-60 in 3.2 seconds while the Tesla Model Y Performance does the same 0-60 in 3.5 seconds.
How many different charging stations are available around the country for Kia and Tesla?
As of February 2023, the Kia can currently utilize more than 41,000 different charging stations while Tesla has more than 40,000 Supercharger plugs.
Which vehicle offers the less expensive starting price?
There is no question that Kia offers the least expensive starting price at 48,700 against Tesla’s 54,990.
What is the difference in range across the various Kia EV6 trim levels?
Kia offers a variety of different trim levels for the Kia EV6 with varying and ranges. The lowest possible range on the GT trim is 206 miles while the Wind RWD offers a maximum of 310 miles.
About the Author
David Beren frequently covers EVs, best of lists, video games and personal tech. His interests range from retro gaming to tracking all of the newest electric vehicles on the road. Outside of writing, David spends much of his free time with his family traveling, watching movies, or playing video games. Social: com/davidj
Tesla Supercharger Network Will Be (Partially) Open To US Drivers By Next Year
Tesla will permit other EV drivers in the US to use some of its Supercharger locations and double the size of its network by 2024.
Well, that was quick! Just 4 days ago, we reported that Tesla and the federal government were deep in discussions about how a.) at least some of the Tesla Supercharger network in the US could be made available to all EV drivers to help the Biden administration reach its EV charging goals, and b.) Tesla could claim a slice of the 7.5 billion in federal money now available to fund the administration’s EV charging goals.
Tesla Will Partially Unlock Supercharger Network
On Wednesday, February 15, the Biden administration announced the rules and regulations that will implement its nationwide charging program are now complete. As part of that announcement, it said:
“Tesla, for the first time, will open a portion of its U.S. Supercharger and Destination Charger network to non-Tesla EVs, making at least 7,500 chargers available for all EVs by the end of 2024. The open chargers will be distributed across the United States. They will include at least 3,500 new and existing 250 kW Superchargers along highway corridors to expand freedom of travel for all EVs, and Level 2 Destination Charging at locations like hotels and restaurants in urban and rural locations. All EV drivers will be able to access these stations using the Tesla app or website. Additionally, Tesla will more than double its full nationwide network of Superchargers, manufactured in Buffalo, New York.”
The Washington Post has more details.”Tesla’s promise still leaves plenty of room for the electric vehicle maker to maintain proprietary control over its Supercharger network. Tesla has only committed to opening up 3,500 fast chargers, or around 20 percent of [its] overall fast charging fleet. The other 4,000 chargers could come from the automaker’s roughly 10,000 slower, Level 2 chargers.” Those Level 2 chargers are often known as destination chargers and are located mostly at hotels, restaurants, and shopping malls where drivers are expected to leave their cars parked for several hours while charging.
“That could keep one of Tesla’s most important competitive advantages alive,” the Washington Post says. “The Tesla Supercharger network has played a significant role in boosting sales of the company’s electric vehicles. While other car companies, like Nissan or General Motors, were trying to perfect the range of their EV batteries, Tesla was investing in both vehicles and their charging network. As three industry analysts wrote in the Harvard Business Review last year: ‘Tesla has been thinking about the entire vehicle system, with the aim of solving consumers’ core driving needs.’”
The Biden Charging Plan
What does this all mean? Technical details are sparse, but it seems to indicate that Tesla will get to keep its owners happy while tapping into federal funds to help it expand its Supercharger network — something it was planning to do anyway. The White House announcement is quite extensive and covers many more areas of interest to CleanTechnica readers than just Tesla Superchargers. Here’s more from the White House press release:
Until now, there were no comprehensive standards for the installation, operation, or maintenance of EV charging stations, and disparities exist among EV charging stations in key areas, such as connector types, payment methods, data privacy, speed and power of chargers, reliability, and the overall user experience. A recent survey of EV users reported frustration with chargers that are too slow, too crowded, or that just don’t work. Under FHWA’s new standards, we are fixing this. The standards will ensure that:
- Charging is a predictable and reliable experience, by ensuring that there are consistent plug types, power levels, and a minimum number of chargers capable of supporting drivers’ fast charging needs;
- Chargers are working when drivers need them to, by requiring a 97 percent uptime reliability requirement;
- Drivers can easily find a charger when they need to, by providing publicly accessible data on locations, price, availability, and accessibility through mapping applications;
- Drivers do not have to use multiple apps and accounts to charge, by requiring that a single method of identification works across all chargers; and,
Chargers will support drivers’ needs well into the future, by requiring compatibility with forward-looking capabilities like Plug and Charge.
The standards will also help to ensure that these historic investments in EV charging create good-paying jobs and that EV chargers are well-serviced by requiring strong workforce standards such as Registered Apprenticeships and the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP). Through the White House Talent Pipeline Challenge, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) has certified 20,000 electricians through EVITP.
Together, the standards will ensure that chargers operated by different networks operate similarly and provide the traveling public with a predictable EV charging experience — no matter what car you drive or what state you charge in.
When I opened my email this morning, I was treated to several versions of a story about a couple who recently went on a 1500-mile road trip in a Kia EV6 who say they had to stop to charge 12 times along the way. The inference many people will draw from that story is that they spent more time charging than driving.
According to Axios, which sponsored the trip, its purpose was to see if America is ready for the era of electric transportation. They say the answer is, “Not quite, but we’re making progress.” The takeaway from their experience is, “You can make a long road trip without fear of getting stranded, as long as you plan ahead. That means juggling route-planning apps and billing accounts with various charging companies, which can get confusing. And be prepared for the unexpected, like glitchy charging equipment touchscreens, billing questions and inoperable plugs.”
Those are precisely the sorts of things the administration’s EV charging initiative is designed to correct. The internet is replete with stories about chargers that won’t recognize a driver’s charging account, won’t connect, or just simply don’t work. Those stories are a black eye for EV revolution. Many people are skittish about making the move to an electric car as it is. Worries about being able to charge conveniently while away from home are enough to make them think twice about making the move.
The White House says, “This national network will give drivers confidence they can always find a place to charge, jump start private investment in charging infrastructure and electric vehicles, and support the President’s goal of at least 50% of vehicle sales to be electric by 2030.” If you are an EV driver or thinking of becoming one, that should be music to your ears.
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