Let's get a little controversial...
It's an interesting topic and one that does the rounds of the EV community socials on a regular basis (sometimes with very un-community like behaviour).
The answer isn't cut and dry. While Tesla destination chargers are usually signposted with a red 'Tesla Vehicle Charging Only', the fact that these spaces are often empty combined with the availability of adaptors kind of makes other EV owners go...eh, why not?
An Outlander PHEV plugged into a Tesla HPWC using a TeslAnything Adaptor. Photo: Sean Thomson
But...isn't it illegal?
Not surprisingly, we couldn't find anything legal-ish online that sets out the ground rules for this kind of thing. In a country that is practically third-world when it comes to EVs, this is right at the bottom of the priority list. So, no clear direction on whether using these spaces in the same ball-park as parking in a legally-enforceable disabled or parents-with-prams spot.
Elon's good, but has he really got a world-wide caveat in an attempt to stop anyone but his own customers from using these points? If not, we'll take his red signs as a notification to non-EVs to not ICE these spots.
But...isn't it like stealing from the venue owner?
Meh, not really. Shopping centres and other publicly accessible Tesla chargers are usually installed by that venue with free hardware from Tesla. They're installed because:
a) it's new and the venue wants to have a point of difference to the multitude of competitors
b) they don't really understand what it's all about but have a triple bottom line to feed
c) they understand that EVs are coming and are smart early adopters
When you fill up an ICE with petrol or diesel you owe money to the venue for the fuel itself, not so much the use of the pump that delivers it. Sure, there's also some cost involved in buying, maintaining and replacing the pump hardware, but the cost, when distributed amongst thousands of users, is insignificant.
But...then isn't it stealing fuel?
Bear in mind the venue doesn't pay for the Tesla HPWC unit, just the cost of installation (even that Tesla will sometimes subsidise), so the amount a non-Tesla owner is 'stealing' is minuscule and far outweighed by the smashed avo and double-shot latte they've just enjoyed .
As for the power itself, if the average Outlander PHEV costs around $3 to charge, with a TeslAnything charger like the one above, to full but the owner spends upwards of $20 on said smashed avo then the venue is still making a buck...Tesla or no. And that's assuming it takes you up to four hours to eat your brunch, which is how long you'd have to wait for a full charge.
But...don't Tesla owners pay for the destination charging network as part of buying the EV?
Depending on when you bought a Tesla, you may (or may not) receive free charging at some destination and supercharger points. Sure, some of the purchase cost of that vehicle goes towards paying for the infrastructure. But, realistically, not every Tesla charge point will be used 24/7 by Tesla owner.
At least not now. However, things will get a tad more competitive as more and more Tesla Model 3s hit Aussie roads.
But, but, but...
Look, if you're a non-Tesla EV owner and really worried about using a Tesla point, simply ask the venue owner. In fact, it's just good etiquette to always check with venue owners when you first charge there, just to check if they're happy.
In most cases, you'll find they're surprised that there's actually an EV world outside the Tesla brand at all!
At the end of the day - every EV owner is passionate about driving the uptake of EVs in Australia and New Zealand. Being able to top up easily in public spaces is vital to positive experiences of being an EV owner.
So, why not just share the charging love?
Want to know more about Tesla charging for non-Tesla EVs? Check out these videos by the awesome Andreas Kirsch and Gavin Webber.