Porsche plans to install fast chargers at every single dealership the automaker runs in the U.S. to coincide with the rollout of its all-electric Mission E, but it won’t take a cue from Tesla and offer free access to owners.
Automakers are quickly moving to introduce electric cars that rival Tesla’s Model S and X luxury vehicles, and the Mission E is Porsche’s upcoming offering in the field, packing as much as 670 hp and an estimated 310 miles of range on a single charge.
But one of the biggest challenges any company faces in trying to catch up with Tesla is the California automaker’s network of Superchargers. Tesla has the infrastructure in place across the U.S. to support fast charging during long trips; others, for the most part, appear to be more focused on simply producing the cars and not answering the question of how to get them quickly recharged.
Porsche’s approach, we reported last month, is to install 800-volt, 320 kW DC fast chargers at all 189 Porsche dealerships in the U.S., netting an estimated 250 miles in about 20 minutes. In between those locations, Porsche’s relying on Volkswagen’s effort to provide lower-voltage Level 2 charger stations along highways and in public areas.
But unlike Tesla, Porsche has no interest in offering access to its upcoming network of fast chargers for free, reports Electrek. Lutz Meschke, deputy chairman of Porsche’s executive board, reportedly said that Porsche felt Tesla’s approach wasn’t sustainable, the EV enthusiast website reported.
“Yes, but it was only free for a while,” Meschke said. “You can not run things like this, you have to earn money from these services.”
Tesla recently started charging for access to the Supercharger network, but Model S and Model X owners still have free service, so long as they have a hookup. (New Model 3 owners have to pay up.) And as Electrek notes, Tesla doesn’t want to make the Supercharger network a “profit center.”
Meschke, naturally, disagrees.
“We can invest in the beginning but after two or three years you have to be profitable with new services, of course,” he said.
What would’ve been smart is if, instead of trying to get into an expensive contest of sorts, automakers teamed up and worked to make their new EVs adaptable to Tesla’s already existing network of Superchargers. Tesla has seemingly made it clear it’s open to it, and the company’s free-to-inexpensive charging has helped create a perception that EVs can be more affordable than gas guzzlers.
Congestion could become—and in some spots already is—an issue for Tesla, but a mutually beneficial partnership with other automakers could help expand charging infrastructure at a quicker pace. It’s crazy this isn’t a more common thing yet.