If you look back at the short-term history of the electric vehicle market, you will see the name of Tesla Motors plastered everywhere. This is a company which has literally dragged the electric vehicle market kicking and screaming into the modern day and while it has now been joined by some of the heavyweights of the automobile industry, Tesla will forever be associated with the electric vehicle market and its early success.
Despite the fact that the company is cooperating with its competitors by licensing out its electric drive system the situation with regards to Tesla's growing recharging network is very different. At this moment in time the company is literally "going it alone" with regards to electric vehicle charging stations, designing specific technology, and services to meet its own individual customer base.
Should there be a universally accepted charging protocol?
It seems unlikely that Tesla Motors will join the general recharging network movement and will instead look to go it alone by using the latest technology and systems available to service its own growing customer base. This could cause a medium-term problem for the electric vehicle charging market because, while the company is focused upon the luxury end of the market at this moment in time, it does have plans to attack the mass market.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "Each day seems to bring news of extended charging networks around the world, from the US to the UK, from Australia to China. Have you seen an increase in the number of charging stations in your area?"
If Tesla was to introduce an affordable electric vehicle, which the company plans to do by 2017, this would mean (as things stand at the moment) the company using its own specific recharging technology as opposed to any universal system in place by 2017. As a consequence, if Tesla's affordable EV became as popular as some of the near mass-market electric vehicles of today, this would put electric vehicle charging companies in a very difficult situation.
Charging for the masses not the niche market
If, as many expect, we see the creation of a universal electric car charging protocol in the short to medium term, and we can assume that Tesla will not join this for the foreseeable future, this could affect the finances of the recharging industry. As opposed to installing one charging station which could fulfil the needs of all electric vehicles, areas where Tesla vehicles are popular might need to see an additional Tesla technology charging station installed as well (it is also worth noting that non-Tesla vehicles would not be able to use Tesla charging services as they stand today).
It may well be that Tesla will at some point come on board with regards to the wider electric car charging industry but at this moment in time the company is certainly looking to go it alone. Whether indeed the company decides to operate specific in-house technology charging services for the luxury end of the market, while accepting the universal protocol for the forthcoming affordable EV, remains to be seen.
While there is no doubt that Tesla has pushed the electric vehicle market to the current point where sales are set to double in the U.S., there is some confusion and some concern about the emergence of different electric car charging technologies. It may well be that Tesla decides to maintain its own charging services for those driving the luxury vehicles currently on offer, while perhaps accepting an almost inevitable general protocol for the charging of mass-market electric vehicles in the future.
This will certainly be an interesting element of the electric vehicle market as it continues to grow and sales figures continue to beat expectations.