Say what you will regarding Elon Musk’s electric car company Tesla Motors, but there is no denying that the man and his company have a flair for the dramatic. So it was in typically Tesla form that the new “supercharging” network was revealed last night to much fanfare and house music (I assume, as I wasn’t there, but I can’t imagine there NOT being fanfare or house music). In a nutshell, the new Superchargers will provide clean, free, and fast charging for drivers of the Tesla Model S up and down the West Coast.
In fact, Tesla says that the first six charging stations have already been built in secret. These six stations using a solar-powered carport provided by SolarCity to generate more energy than Tesla estimates Model S drivers will need in a year of driving. Telsa insists that these Superchargers will always generate more power than is needed, resulting in the extra energy going back into the grid.
But the biggest hurdle Tesla had to overcome was charging time, and according to them they’ve done it. The 85 kWh battery of the Tesla Model S can be fully charged in about an hour from a Supercharger, while 30 minutes of charging will provide 3 hours of driving. That is not a bad tradeoff at all. The first six stations are all clustered around SoCal, but Tesla’s ambitious expansion plans mean more stations will go up within a year.
I can’t help but be reminded of Nikola Tesla’s ambitious plan to bring free, wireless energy to all the world when I think of Tesla’s Supercharger system. For Tesla Model S owners, the supercharging system will be free to use, provided you have either the 85 kWh battery pack, or the 60 kWh battery pack with the optional supercharging port.
By next year, Tesla wants to install Superchargers up and down the east and west coasts, and across the continental United States. Though it sounds like an impossibly ambitious plan, Tesla is setting itself up to be the de facto electric car company of choice. No other EV manufacturer is offering a network of proprietary charging stations. If this plan pans out, Tesla could end up with a monopoly on EVs and EV charging infrastructure.
So, in conclusion, Tesla is offering clean, fast, and FREE charging for their customers. That is kind of a huge deal.
I was a doubter, but it looks like Elon’s plan is really starting to come together. I wonder what Tesla has planned next?