A pundit says (Business Insider, July 20, 2023) that if you are buying an EV right now in North America, it makes no sense to buy anything but a Tesla. Why does the pundit say this? Is the pundit right?
I suspect the pundit is correct. Let’s work through the logic.
The pundit observes the by now seemingly inevitable sequence of domino clicks (see canonical list) toward the Tesla-style charging port on newly manufactured EVs, and toward the placement of the Tesla-style charging port at the left rear of the vehicle. The pundit observes that the providers of public charging stations are tending in the direction of saying that in the future, they will provide Tesla-style charging plugs at their charging stations.
The pundit points out that the number of (non-Tesla-style) CCS charging stations and CCS charging plugs to be found across the US is unlikely to grow appreciably as time goes on. Related to this is that the (lack of) geographic pervasiveness of such CCS charging stations is unlikely to improve as time goes on. The pundit points out that the CCS charging stations that already exist are sometimes broken. The pundit points out that when they are broken, they don’t get repaired right away.
The pundit points out that there are Tesla charging stations just about everywhere. They are almost never broken. If a Tesla charging station ever gets broken, it tends to get repaired almost instantly. The pundit points out that more Tesla charging stations are getting built in more places all the time. The pundit points out that existing Tesla charging stations are getting expanded all the time, to include more charging plugs. There are Tesla charging stations with fifty or seventy-five or a hundred charging plugs. As time goes on there will be more and more Tesla charging stations with such large numbers of charging plugs.
The pundit points out that if you are buying a new EV now, and if you buy a non-Tesla EV, you will be buying a car that will, for its entire service life, be a pain in the neck to charge up when you are on the road.
Charging the newly purchased non-Tesla EV right now, when you are on the road, means trying to find a CCS charger that is not broken. Or maybe it means carrying around a CCS-to-Tesla adapter and trying to use the adapter at a Tesla supercharging station. This probably means something awkward like parking sideways and blocking three parking spots so that you can get the charging port of the car lined up with the charging plug.
After you have had your newly purchased non-Tesla EV for a couple of years, there will be fewer and fewer CCS chargers out there. By then you will have an extension-style CCS-to-Tesla adapter that is ten feet long and permits you to park in a single parking spot, like all of the other EVs, when you use a Tesla supercharger. This extension-style CCS-to-Tesla adapter will weigh thirty pounds and will take up as much room in your trunk as a spare tire. It will take two hands to wrangle the extension-style CCS-to-Tesla adapter.
To avoid this unhappy future, there are three ways to proceed:
- Instead of buying the non-Tesla EV right now, lease it. At the end of the lease, give it back to the lessor. Let the lessor figure out what to do with an EV that has an almost unusable CCS charging port.
- If you are set on purchasing a non-Tesla EV, wait until the 2025-model-year vehicles roll off the production line of the non-Tesla car maker. The 2025-model-year vehicles are the vehicles that have Tesla-style charging ports. These are vehicles that have the charging ports located at the left rear corner of the vehicle. (I predict these vehicles will start becoming available for purchase in the second half of calendar year 2024.)
- Purchase a Tesla car.
This entire discussion is, I think, a sort of variant of the Osborne Effect.