Tesla Announces Rapid-Charging Corridor Between L.A. and San Francisco

America’s only all-electric automaker, Tesla Motors, hopes to make its first profits sometime in 2013 on the back of the Model S sedan. But even though the top-end Model S has a 300 mile range, that still means the Model S is relatively limited in where it can travel. But Tesla CEO Elon Musk let it slip last week that his team was working to install “SuperChargers” along I-5 between Los Angeles and San Francisco.A Lonely Road

Unlike other automakers, who have adapted the J1772 charger, Tesla is developing their own proprietary charging system. It’s a bold, even dangerous move, and current Tesla Roadster owners have to invest in a $750 “conversion cord” to be able to fill up from many public charging stations. It kind of sucks, but Tesla plans to install a corridor of “SuperChargers” along I-5 between L.A. and San Francisco.  This would allow Tesla owners to make the 400+ mile journey on just a single “fill up” (as long as you have the top end Model S with 300 miles of range, mind you.)

EV Elitism

These 90 kilowatt SuperChargers can add as much as 150 miles of range to a Tesla vehicle in 30 minutes or less. Unfortunately, other vehicles with rapid-charging capabilities will be unable to plug into these charges as well. We’ve basically talking about a charging network for a handful of affluent Tesla customers that is off-limits to other EV drivers. So rather than lumping all EV drivers together, there is already a divide between those who can *only* afford a Leaf or Volt, and those who have the cash to splurge on a Tesla Roadster or Model S. This is EV elitism at its worst.

I don’t like this plan, not one bit, and as EV charging stations become more common place, Tesla is going to be forced to either adapt the J1772 standard or come up with a system so superior to J1772, that other automakers adapt Tesla’s system. And I just don’t see that happening. Sure, 30 minutes for 150 miles is impressive, but it still falls far short of the 5-minute-or-less fill-up of gas-powered vehicles.

How about you readers? Is going it alone with a unique charging system the way for Tesla to go? Or should they just suck it up and join the herd?

Source: Green Car Reports | Image: J van der Wolf via Shutterstock.com


Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.