Texas cancels Tesla’s fast-charging plan

Texas is a walled garden of bigotry and hate. He prides himself on telling people what they can and cannot think, say or do in the name of freedom. For example, he’s so determined to avoid federal regulations that he’s built an entire power grid isolated from the rest of the country. Then, when the network goes down due to extreme weather, he blames the federal government.

No wonder Elon Musk loves the state so much that he moved Tesla’s headquarters there to escape California’s tyranny. He chose a state that won’t even let him sell his cars to Texans at Tesla stores — but there’s a certain freedom that comes with being a dictator. For one, you never have to say you’re sorry. If Texas makes it a crime for anyone within its borders to suggest people sell their investments in oil and gas companies, that’s the kind of free speech that warms Elon’s heart-shells. .

Recently, the Lone Star State invested $21 million to encourage freedom-loving people to install DC fast chargers along its roads so EV drivers won’t be afraid to drive further than the end of the road. their aisles. The grants were funded by the Texas Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Program, so it appears the source of the funds — or at least the majority of the funds — came from Volkswagen as part of its Dieselgate settlement.

The agreement was that the chargers should be accessible to all electric vehicle drivers. At present, Tesla superchargers are only available to Tesla drivers, but the company has submitted applications anyway, with the understanding that, if approved, the new chargers installed with the grant money would meet all requirements listed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. In other words, the new Tesla chargers would also have a CCS or CHAdeMO socket.

The rules stated that the first to apply would be the first to be funded. Apparently, no evaluation of the proposals was included to see if the money was well spent. Tesla asked between $30,000 and $50,000 per charger. Most of the winning bids requested the maximum allowed of $150,000 per loader. The result, according to Forbes, Texas will receive 170 new chargers located primarily at existing gas stations. If the Tesla plan had gone through, it would have gotten 700 new fast chargers located in places where people had restaurants and shops while they waited for their cars to charge.

ChargePoint and EVgo – popular major fast-charging networks – were also denied a grant, suggesting the solution may have been up to the mess. The governor’s friends discovered the program before anyone else. “Texas seems to have picked the most expensive resorts in the worst places for their money,” Forbes said.

To make matters worse, the new stations will only be able to serve 30% of the electric cars on the road, since 70% of all electric cars in Texas currently are Teslas. Tesla drivers can use an adapter to plug into a CCS charger — for the extra cost of one of those adapters — but that adapter isn’t even currently in the Tesla store. These new stations have no plug and load capacity requirements and are not tied to any reliability specifics. Tesla owners are much more likely to prefer the convenience of the now familiar Supercharger network where chargers are always clean, operational and paying for electricity used is a seamless process. Superchargers are also built into the Tesla navigation system, planning your trip for you, no matter how far you travel.

Since the funds were awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, a select few were apparently ready to submit their bids seconds into the process and before anyone even knew it. Freedom means being able to reward your friends to make generous campaign contributions later. In Texas, freedom and corruption are synonymous.

Tesla Superchargers for Everyone

The fact that Tesla has applied for the funds is another sign that it plans to open its network of superchargers to all EV drivers in the United States – it has already started doing so in Europe. There’s an ongoing debate about whether Tesla’s charging system is technically superior to CCS, which reminds many of the great Betamax vs. VHS battles of 40 years ago. Sony’s Betamax was clearly superior to VHS but lost out in the market.

Assuming the Supercharger network is superior, so what? Throughout history, common standards have driven the adoption of new technologies faster than superior technologies. If the goal is to get more electric vehicles on the road faster, let’s put our Mr. Wizard egos in our pocket and get the job done. Not one driver in a hundred knows the difference or cares. All that matters is that the charging experience is convenient, enjoyable and stress-free.

Tesla’s big concern is that its owners don’t have to queue to charge. Its proposals concerned charging stations equipped with 9 or 17 chargers. For winning bids, the number of charges has never been higher than 6 and often as low as 2. Is there a way for Tesla to make its chargers available to all drivers while ensuring that its owners do not have to queue? This is a delicate issue that becomes particularly important when it comes to public funds.

Can Tesla owners be charged one price and drivers of other EVs another? Can Tesla owners have priority access to chargers without some good old boy in a Hummer EV dragging a gun to settle the matter Texas-style? These are not unnecessary concerns. As Lynyrd Skynyrd says, “And I tell you, son, well, it’s no fun staring straight into a forty-four.”

Takeaway meals

In the final analysis, it looks like the great state of Texas received some cashola from Volkswagen that it needed to get rid of as quickly and quietly as possible, so word has been passed on to Friends of Greg Abbott to get those demands early, even if you don’t know a fast loader from an oil rig.

Tesla made a good faith effort to give the people of Texas the best value, but was turned down because, damn it, other guys got there first, and then what choice did we have? We had to give them the money even though it’s a really dumb idea to let a yahoo with a convenience store put a charger or two in the back where no one can see it. Both “freedom” and “brains” are rare there in the Oil Patch.


 

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