Can a Carmaker boost electric Sales with their own Charging Network?

Tesla Superchargers
Charge for free in a Tesla with its Superchargers


We heard how crazy it was for Tesla Motors to build its own Supercharger network. It was even crazier to not charge their clientèle. What’s even more troubling is the question of how they willcontinue to do this if the company really takes off the way it’s hoping to. Charging a few thousand electric vehicles (EV) for free is one thing, charging a few million is something Tesla will have to reconsider.

Build your network and they will come

One thing Tesla Motors did well was to start building its own charging network. We can argue whether it should be available to other manufacturers, but in the meantime, they opened coast to coast travelling and north and south corridors. Who can argue against that. The real thing it did was to make the company even more famous than it was and beyond just vapor-ware. Now you can buy a Model S and travel almost anywhere in the U.S. So why haven’t other carmakers done the same?

Will Nissan build its charging network?

The number one EV selling carmaker, Nissan has done a terrific job proving electric cars are ready for prime time. Our latest review of the 2014 Nissan LEAF SL certainly convinced us how well the car matured and how sensible a choice it is for many urban dwellers. If range anxiety is becoming a thing of the past, having more charging stations won’t hurt anything either. Nissan invested by putting a few CHAdeMO chargers at its dealerships. It wouldn’t be a stretch for them to continue to build up the network.

The reason gasoline cars won over electric vehicles at the term of last century was certainly not for the internal combustion engine’s (ICE) prowess. In fact, it took a lot of convincing for carmakers to adopt the clunky, smelly and highly inefficient gasoline engine. It actually took a famous Exxon promise to build gasoline stations every forty miles. At that stage Henry Ford was on-board, but not his wife. You see Henry Ford’s wife kept her electric car until the end, according to our good friends at Clean Technica. Why would you leave the convenience of your always-ready EV for a smelly car you have to start by cranking and handling dirty fuel pumps?

Tesla could charge other carmakers for their Superchargers. That would be a good scenario and would not enrage its future clientèle, while recouping profits from other EVs. Even with solar panels and other forms of alternative energy, you will still need electricity from the grid.

With the lull of new electric vehicles this past year, a softening of the market, a resurgence of heavier and bigger cars, we wonder if carmakers investing in building their charging networks wouldn’t rekindle the EV revolution.

Nicolas Zart
Born and raised around classic cars, it wasn't until Nicolas drove an AC Proulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Eager to spread the news about those amazing full torque electric vehicles, he started writing about this amazing technology and its social impacts in 2007. Today, Nicolas covers renewable energy, test drives cars, does podcasts and films. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he made in those industries. His articles are also published on Teslrati, CleanTechnica, the Beverly Hills Car Club and Medium. "There are more solutions than obstacles." Nicolas Zart