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Tesla unveils V4 Supercharger with credit card reader, subsidy measure?

Fred Lambert

Tesla has unveiled its V4 Supercharger station, and it now includes a credit card reader for the first time which might open doors for state subsidies.

When Tesla first launched the Supercharger network in 2012, it was a free service to Tesla owners.

Later, the automaker started charging some Tesla owners for charging at the Supercharger stations, but it was only for Tesla owners, and therefore, the company handled all payments and activation of charging sessions through an automatic handshake between the cars and charging stations and through its mobile app.

However, things have changed greatly over the last 10 years.

Tesla is now opening up its Supercharger network to non-Tesla electric vehicles, its connector is becoming the standard in North America, and many markets are starting to require payment systems on charging stations.

Tesla has been resisting this move for a while now, but it looks like it is finally moving forward with a payment system on its Supercharger stations.

In March we learned that Tesla might be walking away from a lot of California subsidy money, something almost unheard of from Tesla.

In California, Tesla was in the running for $6 million in funding for four large Supercharger stations with 420 [nice] charge points.The California Energy Commission’s Clean Transportation Program Rural Electric Vehicle Charging program was behind the funding.Now we learn that Tesla has given up on the $6 million in subsidies because it doesn’t want to comply with “payment infrastructure requirements.”

However, things might be about to change. The automaker brought its latest Supercharger V4 charging station to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK, and some keen observer saw something interesting underneath the connector:

It features what appears to be a card reader, and there’s an empty space over it that looks to be ready to receive a screen:

"Manual payment systems and displays not only add complexity to charging stations, but they are also some of the most comment failure points"

I don't agree, manual payment system is installed in millions of vending machines, gas stations and hundreds of millions of stores. The failure rate is extremely low. I just don't get why it's so hard to impletement on EV charging station.

Tesla has recently started to deploy its new Supercharger V4 station in Europe, but this new feature hasn’t been reported until now.

Electrek’s Take

There’s a good reason Tesla hasn’t done that yet. Manual payment systems and displays not only add complexity to charging stations, but they are also some of the most comment failure points – contributing to the notorious unreliability of non-Tesla charging stations.

It looks like Tesla is being forced to do this in some markets that require it.

It will be interesting to see if the automaker decides to deploy this at large or only where required. I have a feeling that it might be at large, and that could explain why the deployment of Supercharger V4 has been so delayed.

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