Tesla is gearing up to expand its Supercharger network in North America, and plans a European rollout
3 June 2013

Tesla Motors is planning to place a “Supercharger” station within easy reach of all of its customers in the next few years. The California-based maker is planning to set up “hundreds” of the quick-charging facilities across the US and Canada and says it will lay out plans for a European network later this month.

Tesla has already begun opening Supercharger stations along America’s east and west coasts but will now nearly triple the number of facilities, with “most of the major metro areas in the US and Canada” within reach by the end of 2013. By mid-decade, no location in American will be more the 100 miles away from one.

“It does mean quite a lot to mainstream customers, being able to drive your (battery) car wherever you want to go… at a moment’s notice,” said Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk. So this is very important to accessing a broader audience for battery-electric vehicles like the Tesla Model S sedan, which went on sale last summer in the US.

Slow charging times and limited availability of public charging points has been one of the biggest drawbacks facing the nascent battery-car industry.  Depending on the type of equipment, a Model S can take anything from three hours to nearly a day to charge. The Supercharger’s 480-volt direct current can provide as much as three hours of driving range in as little as 20 minutes, Musk promised. That’s a significant improvement over the first Superchargers. They will be reprogrammed while Tesla ups their power from 90 to 120 kilowatts.

Those who purchased the longest-range, 80 kilowatt-version of the Tesla Model S will be able to use the Superchargers at no cost. The feature is an option for other versions of the sedan. Musk suggests he would be open to a deal with other manufacturers who might want access to the high-speed chargers for their customers.

According to Musk, the typical Supercharger station costs about $150,000 to set up — or $300,000 if they’re equipped with solar panels and battery back-up systems. Tesla is funding the expanded network out of a new stock offering expected to raise over $1 billion.

Paul A Eisenstein

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Comments
7

3 June 2013

A supercharged Tesla Model S would certainly ring my bell. An electric one ? Er , meh, I can live without it.

4 June 2013

Try one.

3 June 2013

The Tesla Model S is a car to get excited about. They have reimagined the car and the ownership experience and addressing the inherent drawbacks - no wonder the company is doing well. 

Matching charging stations to demand will be challenging though - 20 minutes to recharge is just about acceptable but not if you are in a queue of Teslas waiting to use the charging point!

One of the biggest hurdles remains - how do owners without their own off street parking keep the car charged up? 

3 June 2013

If you dont have off street parking you probably cant afford a Model S. However the challenge will come with the cheaper model yes. But I suppose, who has their own Petrol station?

Regarding time I would happily wait 20 minutes at a petrol station if my fuel was free. The tech is only going to get better too. Just needs a company to start pushing battery technology.

3 June 2013

So I expect to see old Elon on Dragon's Den trying to raise equity to role it out across the UK.

I do get the feeling Peter Jones will give him a dressing down when Elon is only prepared to give away 5% of his supercharging business and not 5% of Tesla Motors.

 

3 June 2013

@scrap in terms of where to charge if you don't have off-street parking, there are plenty of charging points already in existence. For a cost of £10 per year, I can charge at ANY public electric charging point in London (of which there are about 1,300) and, for the moment, I pay nothing to use the electricity when charging.

I'm pretty sure electricity is the most abundant power supply in the UK...

3 June 2013

Tesla shows Nissan: This is how to do it.

Nissan could react by offering Leaf buyers half-price solar panels.

That will not only provide cheap and zero-carbon fuel for cars and the houses but may also silence the armchair critics of this nascent technology.

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