By Sheryll Alexander |
In rather dramatic fashion, Tesla last week announced it plans to build a cross-country “supercharger network” so its well-heeled Tesla Model S drivers can travel from coast to coast – and for free!
The charging network announcement came just a week after Tesla had repaid in full its half-billion-dollar loan to the Department of Energy, which was awarded this “milestone-based loan” in 2010 and was not part of the financial bailouts provided to GM and Chrysler. Tesla had already made payment in 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, but the company repaid the entire loan plus interest more than nine years early with this $451.8 million loan pay off.
And, of course, the cross-country charging network announcement comes after just about every prestigious automotive journalist, editor, magazine, newspaper and digital portal has proclaimed the Tesla Model S to be the best car ever. Ever?
Yes. Consumer Reports – which purchases cars and doesn’t accept advertising – called the Tesla Model S the best car it has ever tested” if but for charging times and EV infrastructure challenges. Other top auto publications from Motor Trend to Road & Track to AOL Autos for being one of the best cars ever made — electric or not.
Tesla’s Supercharger Network
So, how does Tesla envision its new “supercharger” network? California-based Tesla says the company is going to strengthen its California and Nevada networks as well as its Wash. DC to Boston region. Designed for city to city travel, these “superchargers” allow Model S drivers to travel for about three hours (or on average a whopping 237 miles) and then take a 20-30 minute break to charge up again at no charge.
By the end of June, so says Tesla, it is going t triple the number of its supercharger stations “including additional stations in California, coverage of the northwest region from Vancouver to Seattle to Portland, Austin to Dallas in Texas, Illinois and Colorado.” In addition, Tesla says it will add four more stations on the Eastern seaboard.
The six-month plan is to “connect most of the major metro areas in the US and Canada, including expansion into Arizona, additional stations in Texas, Florida, and the Midwest, stations connecting Ottawa to Montreal, and across North and South Carolina into Georgia.”
Tesla claims its accelerated EV infrastructure building plan will make it possible to “travel diagonally across the country from Los Angeles to New York using only the Tesla Supercharger network.”
And in an even more boastful claim, Tesla says that only one year from now, its supercharger network “will stretch across the continent, covering almost the entire population of the US and Canada.” This means Tesla Model S drivers can drive from LA to New York (or Vancouver to San Diego or Montreal to Miami) without spending one penny on fuel.
Tesla says it has recently improved the technology behind its superchargers, which has cut charging time in half “relative to early trials of the system.” These new superchargers, so says Tesla, can charged at just 120kW and replenish the battery for three hours of driving time in around 20 minutes.
So far, Tesla has delivered more than 10,000 electric vehicles to customers in 31 countries. The 2013 Tesla Model S is priced around $70,000 (excluding federal, state and local tax incentives).