Last week, Tesla formally asked the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) to reconsider a February 7 order that would give utilities incentives for installing “publicly accessible” electric vehicle (EV) chargers.
The problem, Tesla says, is that NYPSC defined “publicly accessible” chargers as those that have generic plugs for both American- and Asian-made EVs. Tesla’s proprietary charging stations do not qualify for the incentives.
The original order from NYPSC (PDF) offers utilities the ability to charge more favorable rates for electricity and use more favorable classifications for any publicly accessible Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) stations that the utilities install. But any chargers they install have to have both a Combined Charging System (CCS) plug and a CHAdeMo plug to be classified in the manner preferred by utilities.
Several charging companies make the kinds of dual DCFC stations that that would qualify, but Tesla DCFC stations use a proprietary plug shape that other vehicles don’t accept without an adapter.
The NYPSC acknowledged in its February 7 order that Tesla chargers, as currently deployed, would not qualify for the utility incentives. “Tesla DCFC stations will become eligible for this per-plug incentive where their proprietary technology is coupled with plug types that enables use by EVs with Asian and European charging systems,” the order states.
Tesla says that NYPSC defined “publicly accessible” chargers too narrowly. The company argues (PDF) that “publicly accessible” should pertain only to the physical space that surrounds the charging station. It also argues that “technological accessibility” (that is, whether you car can access electricity based on the plug type) shouldn’t factor into whether a charging station is publicly accessible.
Tesla writes that the “Order’s novel definition of ‘publicly accessible’ is unlawful and arbitrary and capricious since it is devoid of record support, lacking a rational basis, and discriminatory.”
In addition, the state of New York has pledged to institute policies to put 800,000 EVs on the road by 2025, and Tesla says the state can’t hit that number without some Tesla DCFC stations.
The company argues that, when it started making cars, other connectors were limited to a 50 kilowatt charge rate, so the company had to develop its own network of higher-rated plugs, the cost of which is covered by Tesla vehicle purchases. The motion adds that NYPSC’s requirement that CHAdeMO or CCS plugs must be present in a station serves “only non-Tesla customers.”
The company argues that it isn’t trying to keep non-Tesla EV owners from charging their vehicles. Instead, Tesla feels that business alternatives have not been forthcoming. “Tesla does not view its charging network as a ‘walled garden’ and has discussed opening the network with other OEMs, however the conversations have yet to be conclusive,” the company wrote.