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97 Superchargers versus 90,000 gas stations -- Tesla needs all the help it can get

Last week, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk announced the decision to open up his company’s patent portfolio “in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.” It now appears that the first fruits of Musk’s decision are coming to bear.
 
The Financial Times is reporting that both BMW and Nissan are looking to join forces with Tesla to expand the electric vehicle charging network not just in the United States, but also globally. Tesla of course currently builds the Model S, while Nissan is finding some early success with the Leaf, and BMW just brought the i3 to the U.S. market. BMW also has plans to bring its plug-in hybrid i8 sports cars here as well.
 
“It is obviously clear that everyone would benefit if there was a far more simple way for everyone to charge their cars,” said an executive that wished not to be named for the Financial Times report. For its part, BMW explained that it is “strongly committed to the success of electro-mobility” and welcomes the collaboration with Tesla.

BMW i3

Tesla’s Supercharger network has expanded to 97 locations in the U.S., while seven are currently under construction. Tesla has permits in place to build an additional 10 Supercharger stations in the country. Worldwide (including the U.S. totals), there are 122 operational Supercharger stations.

In the grand scheme of things, 97 Supercharger locations in the U.S. is insignificant compared to the number of gas stations littered across the country — and the world. In the U.S. alone, there are nearly 90,000 gas stations available to serve the public.


The current map of operational Tesla Supercharger locations in the United States [Image souce: Tesla Motors]
 
This is the competition that Tesla is up against, hence the grand patent vision and the reason for this statement in last week’s blog post: “Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day.”
 
The cooperation between the three companies is definitely a crucial step to a world that Musk says would “benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform.”

Source: Financial Times





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