Recently I wrote about the launch of supercharger stations in California for the Tesla Model S sedan. For owners of this vehicle it meant they could drive throughout California with the assurance that they could do a quick top up of their EV car’s battery. The initial network had six supercharger stations. Since writing about the launch the number of stations has increased to nine with the original six between Los Angeles and San Francisco and the additional three connecting Washington, DC to Boston. The supercharger stations are outfitted with solar panels. All recharges are provided free.
Now Tesla plans to triple the number of supercharger stations this summer making a trip from Los Angeles to New York City possible. Additional plans include as many as 100 supercharger stations in most major cities across the U.S. and Canada by 2014. The map below illustrates Tesla’s rollout plans.
The Model S has a range of 426 kilometers (265 miles) on a single charge. That means without supercharger stations it is range limited and really only useful as local transportation. Currently Tesla allows a car to suck up enough energy in 30 minutes to travel an additional 240 kilometers (150 miles). Further improvements will shave an additional 10 minutes for drivers who stop to top up their EVs. For a driver planning a trip from California to New York it would mean 20 stops at charging stations along the way. Compare that to a typical internal combustion engine (ICE) automobile with a 640 kilometer (400 mile) range which can accomplish the same trip with only seven stops. So the new supercharger network is still far from ideal by any means. It does, however, represent a step forward in developing an alternative to ICE automobiles which of course enjoy a well established infrastructure of gas and diesel stations.