Part of Elon Musk’s twenty years as the primary advocate for electric vehicles has been his pledge to install a global network of high speed super chargers across American and, indeed, around the world.
First off, Telsa has not spread its network beyond the United States, which accounts for the difficulty the company has face on the international market, where Chinese EVs are gaining respect and market share.
Today, the NYT (which I am still subscribing to specifically for articles like this one) is reporting that Tesla, on Musk’s orders, is “pulling back” on his commitment to install charging stations wherever you look.
But the headline writer didn’t read the article very closely, because Musk has fired the entire 500 person team responsible for the installation of new charging stations and is “cutting back” on building new supercharger stations….only days after Musk told shareholders that it would rapidly expand the number of chargers available. The article does make the point that Musk has been angered by the realization that, by allowing other car makers to use his charging stations, he has lowered the threshold for more car makers to get into the EV business without having to build their own charging networks but he should have thought of that before he did it. (In truth, he had to let other car markers use his charging stations or face charges that he was monopolizing the charging business but that was before other companies started building their own charging networks,)
There are 3.3 million EVs on the road in the U.S There are currently 168,000 charging locations, which means that there is a 20 to 1 ration of vehicles to chargers and, since the average charging time at a supercharger is around an hour, not the 20 minutes that Tesla claims, getting charged up is no simple matter. It depends on how many vehicle are simultaneously charging at a given station those existing. Tesla has only installed 55,000 superchargers at 6,000 locations. Some 30% of the on-Tesla charging stations in the Los Angeles area were out of service in November of 2023 according to a WSJ article quoted by Carscoops.
There are numerous problems with the whole charging network. While there are other companies that are building charging stations, maintaining the stations is another matter. with broken connectors and vandalized stations not uncommon. Everyone is now standardizing on the Tesla hookup design, but that means older cars from other makers cannot use Tesla chargers. And Chinese companies are building cars in which drivers can switch out a depleted battery bank for a fresh one in five minutes automatically….but there are huge logistical problems associated with that system as well.
I have spent a lot of time attempting to explain the numerous difficulties the EV systems inflict on owners, drivers and the infrastructure. A friend of mine leased one recently. He hates it.