Tesla bug allows other EVs to charge for free at Superchargers

Tesla Superchargers have been used in a loophole used by European EV owners for charging non-Tesla vehicles. The charging was used at Tesla V3 Superchargers on a variety of European electric cars which use the standard CCS link.

The electric cars were also able to charge for free, leading to the fact that more than likely the drivers were leveraging the use of the 250 kW-capable chargers. Although the link ports used by Tesla at its European Superchargers on the continent are “standard” for EVs, they were previously unable to charge other manufacturer’s vehicles.

For many purposes, Tesla cars interact with the Superchargers they receive power from. One is to charge the owner of the car for the range they receive. The other is locking the charger into the vehicle.

But since Tesla started rolling out V3 Superchargers in Europe using the CCS link, electric vehicles can use the infrastructure of the electric automaker to charge their vehicles. Nextmove, a European electric car rental company, demonstrated the capability in a video.

The backdoor charging was checked with eight separate European electric cars, and it appeared to operate without any problems.

Nextmove showed the V3 Supercharger supplying the Volkswagen e-Golf, ID.3, BMW i3, Kona EV and IONIQ EV, Renault Zoe, Porsche Taycan, and Opel Ampera-e with power.

According to the EV Sales Blog, three of the previously listed cars were included in Europe’s Top 5 highest-selling EVs for June: the Renault Zoe, Hyundai Kona EV and the VW e-Golf finished first, third and fourth respectively in the rankings.

This means that if they are near a V3 Supercharger, some of the most common electric cars on the European market will be able to take advantage of this loophole. However, with a fast software update, Tesla should be able to fix the problem.

Even though Tesla CEO Elon Musk once said that in the future Tesla’s Superchargers will be available to other manufacturers, the time might not be right now. During the 2018 Q1 Earnings Call, Musk said the company’s Supercharging infrastructure was “not a walled garden,” indicating that at some stage, other EVs could use the chargers. As of now, functionality has never been released. Tesla would announce if this capability had been activated but the company has not made such statement.

The Nextmove video is available here.

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