Tesla Model S Supercharger Network to Triple This Summer; Charge Rate Kicked Up to 120 kW (w/video)

11 months ago by Eric Loveday 34

The Much-Anticipated Announcement Has Arrived

The Much-Anticipated Announcement Has Arrived

Tesla Motors is planning “a dramatic acceleration of the Supercharging network,” says CEO Elon Musk.

Supercharger Tripling Map

Supercharger Tripling Map (End of June Umm Summer)

It’ll be tripled,” commented Musk.

We’ll put the map live tomorrow,” remarked Musk yesterday.

Well, now it’s live.  So, what’s the big Supercharger news?

Exactly what Musk sort of revealed to the world yesterday.  He even remarked yesterday that he “let the cat out of the bag,” so to say.

Tesla’s Supercharger network will triple in size by the end of June or Summer as Tesla now says..  Yes, that’s this June Summer.  So, it’ll expand from today’s 8 Supercharger stations to somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-ish by June 30, 2013.

Supercharger Network in 6 Months

Supercharger Network in 6 Months

Beyond that, Musk says the Supercharger network will be expanded to allow for Los Angeles to New York (City, we assume) trips to be entirely doable in a Model S by year’s end.  That’s a distance of 2,789.3 miles, in case you were wondering.

As Musk remarked:

“It is very important to address this issue of long-distance travel.  When people buy a car, they’re also buying a sense of freedom, the ability to go anywhere they want and not feel fettered.”

Beyond expansion though is word of more juice flowing soon.  Here’s what Tesla had to say of that:

Far-Off Future Supercharger Network...Think End of 2015-ish

Far-Off Future Supercharger Network…Think End of 2015-ish

“In addition to the expansion of the Tesla Supercharger network itself, Tesla is improving the technology behind the Tesla Supercharger to dramatically decrease the amount of time it takes to charge Model S, cutting charging time in half relative to early trials of the system. The new technology, which is in beta test mode now and will be fully rolled out to customers this summer, will allow Model S to be charged at 120 kW, replenishing three hours of driving in just over 20 minutes.”

Supercharger Graphic

Supercharger Graphic

Here are a few highlights, focused mainly on upcoming locations, from Tesla’s Supercharger announcement:

  • Triple the number of Tesla Supercharger stations by the end of next month, including additional stations in California, coverage of the northwest region from Vancouver to Seattle to Portland, Austin to Dallas in Texas, Illinois and Colorado. There will also be four additional eastern seaboard stations, expanding the density of the network to provide for more convenient stopping points.
  •  Within six months the Tesla Supercharger network will 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. It will also be possible to travel diagonally across the country from Los Angeles to New York using only the Tesla Supercharger network.
  • A year from now, the Tesla Supercharger network will stretch across the continent, covering almost the entire population of the US and Canada. The expansion of the network will mean that Model S drivers can take the ultimate road trip — whether that’s LA to New York, Vancouver to San Diego, or Montreal to Miami – without spending a cent on fuel.

Editor’s Note: See the various graphics below for existing Supercharger locations, as well as proposed sites for future expansion of the charging network.  Further down below you’ll find Tesla’s entire press release.

Tesla's Proposed by 2015 Supercharger Sites

Tesla’s Proposed by 2015 Supercharger Sites

 

Current Supercharger Locations (click to enlarge)

Current Supercharger Locations (click to enlarge)

 

TESLA DRAMATICALLY EXPANDS SUPERCHARGER NETWORK, DELIVERING CONVENIENT, FREE LONG DISTANCE DRIVING THROUGHOUT U.S. AND CANADA

Thursday, May 30, 2013

PALO ALTO, Calif.– Tesla Motors today announced significant expansion of the Tesla Supercharger network. Supercharging enables Tesla Model S drivers to travel long distances, for free, indefinitely.

The expansion of the network builds upon the success of the Tesla Supercharger network that covers California and Nevada on the west coast and the Washington, DC to Boston region on the east coast. The Tesla Supercharger network has enabled an estimated 1 million miles of driving since going live in October 2012. Superchargers are designed for city to city travel, enabling Model S electric vehicle drivers to travel for about three hours, take a 20 to 30 minute break to grab lunch or a soda or coffee, and get back on the road charged up. For free.

With the accelerated rollout of the Tesla Supercharger network, Model S drivers can expect:

  • Triple the number of Tesla Supercharger stations by the end of next month, including additional stations in California, coverage of the northwest region from Vancouver to Seattle to Portland, Austin to Dallas in Texas, Illinois and Colorado. There will also be four additional eastern seaboard stations, expanding the density of the network to provide for more convenient stopping points.
  • Within six months the Tesla Supercharger network will 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. It will also be possible to travel diagonally across the country from Los Angeles to New York using only the Tesla Supercharger network.
  • A year from now, the Tesla Supercharger network will stretch across the continent, covering almost the entire population of the US and Canada. The expansion of the network will mean that Model S drivers can take the ultimate road trip — whether that’s LA to New York, Vancouver to San Diego, or Montreal to Miami – without spending a cent on fuel.

In addition to the expansion of the Tesla Supercharger network itself, Tesla is improving the technology behind the Tesla Supercharger to dramatically decrease the amount of time it takes to charge Model S, cutting charging time in half relative to early trials of the system. The new technology, which is in beta test mode now and will be fully rolled out to customers this summer, will allow Model S to be charged at 120 kW, replenishing three hours of driving in just over 20 minutes.

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34 responses to "Tesla Model S Supercharger Network to Triple This Summer; Charge Rate Kicked Up to 120 kW (w/video)"

  1. Taser54 says:

    Is the 120KW charging rate an acknowledgement by Tesla that they don’t care about the longevity of the batteries as they feel that the replacement costs will be markedly lower in the future OR they’ve already priced it into the cost of the vehicle?

    1. Eric Loveday says:

      The 120 kW charge rate is something Musk had discussed months ago now. Tesla has been working on it for some time. Gradually stepping up the kW, so we’d assume Tesla is confident it won’t do too much harm to the battery. And remember, Tesla warrants the Model S battery for life now.

      1. Taser54 says:

        I just read the February thread on their forum discussing the rate of charging for their pack. It is interesting to note that the charging rate will be over 1C at 120KW.

        As for the pack warranty, I still believe that it is capped at 8 years and loss of energy due to battery usage over time is specifically excluded.

    2. Anderlan says:

      I thought what killed lithium cells was topping them off and draining them dry, not the power level you push them at, as long as you keep them in their happy 20-80% place (even better 30-60%).

      That being said, I didn’t know it was possible to charge the Tesla 85kWh pack that fast. You’ve got 8000 3.7V 2.2Ah cells. You can charge each of them at, say, 10 or 12W. 12W * 8000 cells = 96kW. And I’m high balling the charge rate and number of cells. Does anyone know how fast you can push an 18650 cell while it’s inside of 20-80% of charge?

    3. The charge for 200 miles is about 80% of the battery (85kWh) capacity, so it should not stress things much.

      Neil

    4. evnow says:

      Charging at 2C is not a big problem, most batteries can handle it easily. Just need to make sure the batteries are properly cooled.

  2. David Murray says:

    Or perhaps they figure most customers won’t really be using these stations all that often, and thus it probably doesn’t matter. After all, these are most likely being built for peace of mind and for killing the age-old-argument about not being able to travel in an electric car.

  3. code says:

    How can Tesla afford to maintain a huge network of supercharging facilities across the country? I get that Tesla is trying to beat the chicken/egg problem by installing a network themselves… but seriously 100′s of chargers across the country, free charging? That seems crazy!

    1. Eric Loveday says:

      Does it though? If Tesla builds this network out and all of its future vehicles are compatible, then Tesla will be in a position that no other automaker could dream of matching. It seems a solid future investment to us, though costly for sure right now.

      1. MTN Ranger says:

        You can’t say that Elon doesn’t plan for the long term! 2017 can’t come quick enough for Gen3. I may have to bide my time with an i3 or another Volt until then.

    2. Anderlan says:

      Hehe. When do passenger cars do road trips? During the day. On good weather days, if the driver can help it. Sunny day grid surplus, natch.

      Seriously, I have no idea how they make the math work, but they are mooning the oil companies, fruit basket included, and that makes me deliriously happy.

    3. The charging stations are powered by large installations of Solar City PV panels, that will make more than enough energy to offset the use of the Superchargers – so the PV panels will earn them a profit.

      Neil

    4. David Murray says:

      These are essentially all a one-time expense. I’m sure there are small ongoing expenses, but most of it is paid to build these things initially. They will continue to reap the benefits of these stations for decades as it enables them to sell more cars to those people who are concerned about long-distance travel. In fact, it is possible the ones with the solar panels may pay for themselves in time.

      1. Dave R says:

        Utility demand charges will be very expensive for them.

        In California, most utilities will charge you on the order of $20-25 for your highest peak demand in the summer months in the afternoons when demand on the grid is the highest.

        So a single 120 kW supercharge will cost Tesla $3,000 / month.

        They will probably have about 20 different locations with SuperChargers in California by the end of the year, and I’d guess an average of 6 stations per location for a total of 120 SuperChargers.

        That’s $360k / month in utility demand fees. Winter months will be better – about 1/2 to 2/3rds that cost. And that still does not include energy fees – those will be $0.05 – $0.15 / kWh depending on time of day. Let’s say each station charges 5 cars a day on average using 40 kWh – that’s another $36k-$100k on top of that $360k.

        Tesla must be planning on adding grid storage in combination with solar to minimize demand charges – it would quickly pay off in this type of application where you have demand that tends to be very spiky in nature.

        1. Eric Loveday says:

          @ Dave R…Yes grid storage is in the works…Some Supercharger stations already have this, though Musk won’t say which ones. In the future, all will likely have this feature. The storage is a 500 kWh battery of some undisclosed type

    5. Anthony says:

      It might be free for Model S owners forever, but don’t expect that to be true for GEN 3 cars. It might not even be true for the Model X.

  4. Anthony says:

    I-90 seems like an odd route to choose for the LA/NY route. Why would you drive up through South Dakota, then down to Chicago?!? I-80 seems much more reasonable. I assume it was logistical – they couldn’t get the stations they wanted in place by the end of the year.

    1. Aaron says:

      Which of the maps are you looking at?

    2. evnow says:

      They are trying to enable NY to LA and Seattle to NY – so I-90 makes it easier.

      1. Anthony says:

        I guess, but I’d prioritize LA/NY much higher than NY/Seattle. Make the Seattle route go north from I-80 to I-90 on I-25.

  5. Schmeltz says:

    I agree with Code in the post above. How is Tesla going to afford the cost of all of these supercharger stations–and then not charge a fee to use them? I mean, what does one of these stations typically cost? A few hundred thousand? More? Where’s the money coming from to build these? Say one of these stations is $500,000 to buy the patch of ground, the materials, labor to install, inspection fees, etc. So 100 of these at $500 grand a piece is $50 million. Nothing to sneeze at, and Tesla’s getting no fee to use these things?

    Someone please help me understand how this works.

    1. KenZ says:

      I don’t think they cost that much first off. Don’t know the numbers, but they’re not that expensive. However, as someone pointed out above, once the country is covered, Tesla has a serious first mover advantage. Being first to market with a great electric car is nice… for a while… but then when BMW or Lexus or someone else comes out with a great ecar in, say, 4 years…. how long will Tesla’s first to market advantage help?

      HOWEVER, with the super charger network, the first to market advantage is massive. Now say it’s 5+ years from now, and you want to buy a luxury ecar. Tesla has the entire country covered with free superchargers. Lexus has a legitimately great new ecar, and says it will put fastchargers out there… maybe free/maybe not… and get nationwide coverage in a few years. Which will you buy? Answer: Tesla, hands down.

      Being first to market with a nation-wide supercharger network is more important for the long term health of the company than being first to market with a great ecar IMO.

      1. Anthony says:

        Tesla’s first mover advantage only lasts as long as no one else builds a fast-charging network. If GM and Ford get together and pay to build out a similar J1772 DC 100kW fast charging network, then I think it erodes the benefits of the supercharger network (but just slightly – there is benefits to using a proprietary network).

        But that wont happen until automakers start to build a long-range EV (250+ miles per charge). And I don’t see that happening until either batteries are ready for it (2020 or so) or they build a purpose-built EV that is designed from the chassis up to carry a lot of batteries.

        1. an_outsider says:

          Maybe Tesla plan to open its supercharger network to competitor … as long they get royalties form the licensed ? Who knows…

    2. Chris says:

      $50 million is a lot of money for an individual. However, Tesla’s market cap increased from $3 Billion to $12 Billion in the last 6 months. $50 million for a nationwide network of chargers that:
      A. Blows your customers expectations away
      B. Addresses the biggest criticism of your product
      C. Generates huge brand awareness
      D. Is too bold for your competitors to even attempt to mimic
      E. Is a revenue neutral for one of your companies (TSLA) and a revenue source for another (SCTY)

      Sounds like a bargain!

  6. Bill Howland says:

    Oh my Gosh! IN the distant distant future there is actually going to be in Buffalo… Yea!

    1. Brian says:

      I noticed that too. And surprisingly even in Syracuse, and what’s that – Ithaca? I’ll probably head over to the closest one just to check it out. It’ll be kinda like the opening scene of 2001 Space Odyssey…

    2. Jay Cole says:

      Congrats Bill!

  7. Delta says:

    For those who travel around north america often, this car became a no-brainer. Lots of folks in Canada drive south for the winter. A tesla would save you a thousand a month in gas on a trip south for the winter.

    What will Elon do as an encore once TSLA reaches 200? Superchargers in Germany would really get BMW scared…

    .

  8. Bennyd says:

    This is incredible, Tesla is revolutionizing the auto industry and probably space travel.

  9. Priusmaniac says:

    After road 66, America will get famous for its Tesla Supercharger road.

  10. Darius says:

    It’s possible reducing intallation costs by having special deals with grid companies by carefully selecting charging locations. Most prefered are locations in vicinity of high voltage transformer substations where grid overcapacity could be accesable.
    Another possibility reducing price would be intalling batteries or capacotors and interruptable power supply at peak demand moments.

    May be Elon Musk has in mind all that. If not the fast charging could cost a lot.

    1. Brian says:

      It was reported here: http://www.plugincars.com/tesla-starts-supercharger-network-expansion-reduces-charging-time-30-minutes-127378.html that Tesla plans for a 500kWh battery bank to isolate the power surge from the grid.