As Tesla prepares to move into mass-market sales of its electric cars, some owners have expressed concerns that all of those new Model 3 owners will overwhelm the existing Tesla Supercharger network. Things are especially bad in California, where Ben Sullins of Teslanomics says there are already 105 Teslas for every Supercharger station. (The average worldwide is about a third of that number.) The problem is only going to get worse in the Golden State, since Tesla says it will build Model 3 sedans for its employees at the Fremont factory first.
To calm jittery current owners and reassure those who will be converting their Model 3 reservations to firm orders soon, Tesla issued a blog post today in which it promised it had a handle on the situation and it’s moving aggressively to expand its Tesla Supercharger network. “As Tesla prepares for our first mass-market vehicle and continues to increase our Model S and Model X fleet, we’re making charging an even greater priority. It is extremely important to us and our mission that charging is convenient, abundant, and reliable for all owners, current and future. In 2017, we’ll be doubling the Tesla charging network, expanding existing sites so drivers never wait to charge, and broadening our charging locations within city centers.”
The blog post goes on to say, “We started 2017 with over 5,000 Superchargers globally and by the end of this year, Tesla will double that number to total more than 10,000 Superchargers and 15,000 Destination Charging connectors around the world. In North America, we’ll increase the number of Superchargers by 150 percent, and in California alone we’ll add more than 1,000 Superchargers. We’re moving full speed on site selection and many sites will soon enter construction to open in advance of the summer travel season.
Some might quibble that the “summer travel season” is already close at hand, but not to worry. Any company that can install a total of 396 Powerpack grid storage batteries for Southern California Edison in just over 3 months time can find a way to install 1,000 Supercharger units in a few months. The plans and specifications are virtually identical from one Tesla Supercharger location to another. All that needs to be done is attend to the permitting process and hire the contractors. Get those backhoes fired up!
“[W]e know that to truly advance electric vehicle adoption, we must continue investing in charging infrastructure. Toward that goal, Tesla will build larger sites along our busiest travel routes that will accommodate several dozen Teslas Supercharging simultaneously. In addition, many sites will be built further off the highway to allow local Tesla drivers to charge quickly when needed, with the goal of making charging ubiquitous in urban centers.
“Tesla will continue to lead the industry with the fastest, most advanced charging technology in the world and continue to build the only cars capable of leveraging that power. The ongoing expansion of the networks will ensure that Tesla drivers are able to quickly and easily charge their vehicles no matter what, and that a seamless charging experience remains our priority.”
People debate whether Tesla’s stock price is too high or too low. When they do, they focus on the number of cars delivered or reservations taken. People seldom stop to consider that the Tesla Supercharger system is the world’s largest, most reliable, and most powerful electric car charging network, but it may prove to be one of the company’s most valuable assets in the future.
If only other manufacturers would put their money where their mouth is and take charging infrastructure seriously. Instead, most of them (especially the American automakers) are standing around with their hands in their pockets waiting for someone else to do the heavy lifting while whining that no one wants to buy electric cars. Yes, Mary Barra and Mark Fields, we are talking about you!
For a look at current and planned Supercharger locations, Tesla has a convenient interactive global map on its website.
Source and image credit: Tesla