Tesla Motors is to launch a range of solar-powered charging forecourts in the USA, which it calls the Supercharger network.
Minus installation costs, the stations will cost the company so little in energy that they will be offering customers of its new Model S free energy “indefinitely”.
The stations, installed in California, Nevada and Arizona, provide nearly 100 kilowatts of power, which equates to around 150 miles of electric charge from a half-hour charge. Tesla says up to 120 kilowatts could be supplied by the system.
The hardware needed to use the system is standard on Model S vehicles with an 85kWh battery, and the kit is optional on models with a 60kWh battery.
The solar technology is derived from Tesla’s vehicle production technology, and provides so much energy that it can deliver power back into the national grid. This is because the solar system generates more power than Model S owners use.
Tesla will also offer small charging stations for home use.
“By making electric long distance travel at no cost, an impossibility for gasoline cars, Tesla is demonstrating just how fundamentally better electric transport can be,” said Elon Musk, Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO.
Supercharger charging stations are to be rolled out across the US by next year and in Europe and Asia in the second half of 2013.