Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Tesla's Elon Musk announced tonight that Telsa has plans to deploy a Supercharger Network across the US, lower Canada, Asia and Europe. The plan for the Supercharger Network, which can juice up a Tesla battery at a rate of nearly 100 KW, is hardly a surprise. The real kicker is in the details.

Location - NOW. There are already 6 Superchargers installed across California, enabling current Model S owners to travel the entire state with one or two half hour Supercharges. Current locations are:
  • Folsom
  • Gilroy
  • Harris Ranch
  • Tejon Ranch
  • LA
  • Barstow
Additional stations will be installed in key locations around the country by the end of 2012, and more generally across the US and lower Canada by 2015.

Energy Source - Many people have (incorrectly) asserted that driving an electric car is just as dirty if not dirtier than driving a gasoline car.  Since the power much be generated somewhere and is in fact often generated by coal in some of the dirtier electric grids around the country, some people argue that the "greeness" of EVs is a myth. Rather than try to prove them wrong, Tesla circumvented the whole issue. Supercharge stations will be solar powered, with panels and installation provided by SolarCity. The panels will be oversized for the charging need of the cars and so will have a net negative electricity use. While this was Musk's claim, I'd be curious to see it in action. As we know, netmetering laws often limit the amount of electricity you can sell back to the grid. Even still, being able to drive electric and charge so quickly with electrons generated by the sun is pretty impressive.

Cost -  Tesla also went after the EV nay-sayers in regards to cost. Rather than concern itself with the appropriate pricing schemes for solar generated electricity, Tesla decided to forgo payment entirely. All Supercharging will be available free of charge for vehicles equipped with a Supercharger. While Musk mentioned that onboard Supercharger equipment is an additional cost option on the Model S 65 KWh, the current Tesla vehicle configurator actually has the Supercharger "option" as a standard no-cost feature. We'll see if that is still the case when it's time to purchase the vehicle.

While details about the Supercharger network have leaked out over the past several weeks, it was still exciting to finally hear the facts and get a visual. Now let's see how quickly the rest of the country gets blanketed in Superchargers. With some luck, Tesla may even overtake Blink (only half kidding.)