Tesla Motors Plans to Deploy "Supercharger" Charging Network for Model S
September 25, 2012 8:14 AM
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Free solar charging network from Tesla will reduce range anxiety
Tesla Motors has a lot of hopes riding on its new Model S electric vehicle. The company hopes that the
will help it become profitable. In August, the company finished production of its
first 50 vehicles
and began deliveries to customers.
However, despite the excellent performance and sexy looks, one of the problems drivers have with any electric vehicle is range anxiety.
Drivers who might otherwise be interested in an electric vehicle become concerned that the car may run out of power before they reach their destination and often opt for a hybrid or conventional car instead of the EV due to that fear. Tesla has announced that it intends to install a revolutionary network of high-performance electric chargers around the country that it is calling the Supercharger network. The chargers will be available to Model S and other Tesla vehicle owners at no cost.
“Tesla’s Supercharger network is a game changer for electric vehicles, providing long distance travel that has a level of convenience equivalent to gasoline cars for all practical purposes. However, by making electric long distance travel at no cost, an impossibility for gasoline cars, Tesla is demonstrating just how fundamentally better electric transport can be,” said Elon Musk, Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO. “We are giving Model S the ability to drive almost anywhere for free on pure sunlight.”
Tesla Model S
Tesla has revealed the locations for the initial six Supercharger stations. The stations are installed throughout California and in parts of Nevada and Arizona. The electricity used to recharge Tesla vehicles using the Superchargers comes from a solar carport system installed by SolarCity. According to Tesla, using these solar installations means that there is almost zero marginal energy costs after the installation.
By next year, Tesla plans to install Superchargers in high-traffic corridors across the continental United States. The goal is to provide fast purely electric travel from Vancouver to San Diego, Miami to Montréal, and Los Angeles to New York according to Tesla area
The company will also begin installing Superchargers in Europe and Asia in the second half of 2013. Supercharger is an apt name for the new charging systems that are able to provide almost 100 kW of power to the Model S. The charging stations also have the potential to go as high as 120 kW in the future. The charging capacity is enough to allow the Model S to drive for three hours at 60 mph after 30 minutes of charging.
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Charging stations need to be everywhere
9/26/2012 7:31:01 PM
Thirty minutes is still a pretty long time to be waiting for a charge. But on the other hand, if that's 30-60 minutes charging in the restaurant parking lot while you eat, that doesn't sound bad at all. You'd probably want to stop every so often for a break when taking a long road trip anyway.
A few charging stations here and there aren't going to get it done though. This is a good first step, and a good trial for proving the technology, but they need to get these things all over the place to really make a difference.
Also, if Tesla is serious about this, they should engage with other auto manufacturers to create a standard for chargers that will work with all EVs. Collaborating with competitors might sound counterproductive on the surface, but if you want to be serious about creating a viable alternative to gasoline fueling stations for your customers, then it's a much easier sell to get the stations installed if they'll work with all EVs instead of just a few Tesla vehicles that might roll through a couple times a month if you're lucky.
If done right, having chargers in your parking lot could become a competitive advantage for businesses that want to appeal to travelers with EVs.
I can imagine a business model where companies that invest in the charging equipment cut deals with the businesses to install the units in their lots. The business gets to advertise that they have the charging stations available, and the company that paid the upfront cost and installed them gets to recoup their investment over time as people pay to use the stations.
"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation
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