Changes in US policy for EV chargers to affect Tesla. Here's how

Tesla has a year to make its charging stations compatible for other EVs
Ameya Paleja
Tesla charging station
Tesla charging station


After a long wait, the U.S. government has issued the rules for the national electric vehicle (EV) charger network to herald the most significant transformation in the U.S. transport landscape. As per the rules, EV companies need to begin manufacturing their chargers in the U.S. immediately, Reuters reported.

The framing of the rules has been in the works for nearly eight months as it is expected to impact existing charging station providers such as EVgo Inc and ChargePoint Holdings Inc. However, the most significant impact is anticipated on Elon Musk's Tesla, which, apart from being the largest EV maker in the country, also has an extensive charging infrastructure, which will now be required to be accessible for all EV users and not just Tesla's customers.

Rules for national EV charging network in the U.S.

The U.S. government has a budget outlay of $7.5 billion for rolling out the national EV charging network. However, if charging providers such as Tesla want to tap into this funding, they must follow some ground rules first.

Chargers on the network need to comply with the Combined Charging System (CCS), the U.S. standard for charging connectors that have been gaining dominance in the industry. For Tesla, this would mean providing a connector to go with its CHAdeMO charger or shifting to CCS immediately. According to the Reuters report, Tesla plans to make this shift, but it is unclear when.

By supplying an adapter, Tesla could further delay the transition of its cars to the CCS system. However, with most new cars using the CCS system, this would make the Tesla charging network inaccessible to them. Advocates have warned that delaying the rollout would punish car manufacturers who moved early to comply with the rules.

The unified EV charging network also means that users will have better transparency in the price they are paying for charging their vehicle and use smartphone-friendly standardized payment options.

The rules also require that the chargers must use at least 55 percent of construction materials such as iron and steel from sources in the U.S. Since the demand for EV chargers has put a strain on global steel supply, companies and states wanted an extension to comply with the 55 percent U.S. made components rule. The implementation date for this rule has been extended to July 2024. However, manufacturing must be done in the U.S. starting immediately.

This might require Tesla to hire more staff to comply with the rules. Tritium, an EV charger manufacturer, announced on Wednesday that it was increasing its workforce by 50 percent to comply with this rule, taking its total employee number beyond 750.

Tesla will likely toe the government line on this and not fight the transition.

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