Behold, the Tesla Supercharger
On September 24th, Tesla Motors revealed that it had been hiding a bit of a secret. It seems that the much anticipated network of Tesla electric car charging stations was not only designed and ready for construction, but a mini-network of an initial six stations was already operational in California, having been built in secret.
The Tesla Supercharger As Game Changer
Today, it seems that every new techno announcement is accompanied by the proclamation that whatever idea or product under the gilded sheet is a ‘game changer.’
In this case, Tesla Chief Officer Elon Musk really may have changed everything with these bold plans…
The Tesla Supercharger consists of a strategically placed electric filling station with a high-capacity charging system and an array of SolarCity solar panels mounted on a carport canopy.
Half-load charges of the Tesla Model S, allowing about 120 mils of range, can be accomplished in only 30 minutes of charging time. For a weary traveler stretching legs, visiting the loo, and getting a snack, the break is perfect. This also places the next in the current series of Supercharger stations within traveling range.
For the first time, it can be easy for a Tesla driver to run their car completely on solar power. Emission-less driving, the holy grail.
If this idea works as designed, it gets even better. Use of the Tesla Supercharger stations is forever free for Model S owners.
Tesla Supercharger Expansion Plans
Musk revealed that while the current six-station network will allow Tesla drivers to travel emission free throughout California, and portions of Nevada and Arizona.
By next year, Tesla will expand the Supercharger network “across the continental United States, enabling fast, purely electric travel from Vancouver to San Diego, Miami to Montreal and Los Angeles to New York. Tesla will also begin installing Superchargers in Europe and Asia in the second half of 2013.”
The bad news is that the solar charging network is currently only available for Tesla Model S drivers who have opted for the larger 85 kWh battery. No other Tesla models support the rapid charging technology used by the stations.
There is no word on the expansion of the technology to other models, or the development of a more affordable line of cars that could offer the technology, but one can hope.
About the Author:
David Arthur is a LEED-AP, Green Building Consultant, and Energy Auditor. He also writes for the website GoingGreen-GettingHealthy.com.