Tesla Plans To Double Number Of U.S. Superchargers By End Of 2017

2 months ago by Steven Loveday 28

Tesla Superchargers in Barstow, CA in action (Image via PlugShare)

Tesla still intends to produce around 500,000 new vehicles per year by the end of 2018. The electric automaker could be set to produce as many as 50,000 to 80,000 Model 3s by the end of this year. All of these vehicles necessitate the need for the rapid expansion of Superchargers.

The upcoming Tesla Model 3 will significantly increase the need for Superchargers.

The exclusive Tesla Supercharger network totals about 5,000 individual chargers globally, housed in 790 stations. North America is home to a little more than half of these chargers, spread throughout 373 sites.

In 2016, Tesla fell behind on the network’s expansion efforts, and recently CEO Elon Musk said that current stations will be expanded ahead of new construction. Now, at Tesla’s fourth-quarter earnings call, the company announced plans to double the number of U.S. Superchargers by the end of 2017. Tesla is also continually expanding its destination charging network, and has upgraded to a faster, 240-Volt level 2 AC charging system.

Supercharger stations are specifically intended for people that are traveling. The primary area for expansion at this point will help to connect the western U.S. to the Midwest and the East. Tesla has asked its customers to reserve Supercharger use for long trips. The company believes that commuters should be charging at home or at work (if possible), and those that have overnight breaks during trips, should set a goal to connect with a destination charger.

Now, Tesla is charging for Supercharger access. The automaker claims that it is not doing so in order to make a large profit, but rather to help with overcrowding. If people have to pay, there is a better chance that they will use the network for its original intention.

To say that Tesla has its plate full for the remainder of 2017 and beyond, is a monumental understatement.

Source: Green Car Reports

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28 responses to "Tesla Plans To Double Number Of U.S. Superchargers By End Of 2017"

  1. George Parrott says:

    As a BIG Tesla supporter, now on my second Model S, I am still disappointed in their slowness in getting I-80 filled in across Wyoming. Talking with a Tesla representative last month, he noted “Wyoming does not permit Tesla sales….” so apparently the delay on completing the national I-80 corridor was/is a bit of an effort by Tesla to coerce the Wyoming politicians to allow sales there.

    This is understandable in one light, but IMHO, does Tesla’s customers a bigger disservice than necessary, as there will NEVER be that many actual “Tesla sales” in Wyoming (total state population of around 600,000), but many of us “high population density owners” want to make road trips THROUGH Wyoming to get to other interesting places.

    It is the actual and future TESLA BUYERS that are not being served by this avoidance of (or just DELAY) in completing the I-80 corridor.

    1. William says:

      Once the Tesla Model 3 gets sales into the 100k range, year over year, you will have your “I-80 corridor” Supercharger. Probably no later than early to mid 2020. The Supercharger rollout is progress, with a small dose of patience. Wyoming is Coal Country, and Tesla will be welcome there, when Cowboys start to Barbecue Tofu Burgers at the Local 4H Rodeo!

  2. Hopefully​ they don’t forget about the rest of the world, there are still enough places outside the USA with even less coverage, like Eastern Europe for example.

    1. Or even a percentage pro rated of US to Canada in Superchargers!

      Basically, it would seem that Canada should at least get its cross Canada Highway connected, before this time 2018! [Since they plan on having about FIVE (5) USA East Coast to West Coast Freeways completed before then!]

      Elon also did mention being able to travel from San Diego to Alaska by Supercharger, too, but the B.C. connections North from Hope, BC, are not yet in the 2017 plan, as shared publicly, at least!

    2. SJC says:

      Great business model, sell the cars then sell the energy.

      1. Philip Reeve says:

        Of course, the honest way to have expressed your comment would have been to have written:

        “Great business model, sell the cars then support your customers by providing them with low cost energy.”

        1. SJC says:

          You believe you are the master of THE correct expression..how arrogant.

    3. JR says:

      +1, hoped to drive to LT last year,but was stock with the plane

  3. georgeS says:

    Excellent. I wonder when they will announce 800V charging at double the power.

    1. vdiv says:

      It’s an “if” question. 800V is unnecessarily more expensive (power electronics) and more challenging (safety)

      1. Brandon says:

        It’s already not a question ‘if’ 800 volt fast charging will happen.

        Porsche has plans to do so with the upcoming Mission E, and plans are even now underway to install 350 kW HPFC infrastructure in locations such as Norway and Germany. The ChargePoint Express Plus fast charger setup, which is available to buy in July, does 1000 volts and 350 amps.

        It’s definitely coming.

      2. Mikael says:

        Not really, the alternative is 800 amps and that is even less fun.

      3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        If we want to reach the goal of recharging EVs in no more than 5-10 minutes, then cars will have to be engineered to handle significantly high current. That either means massive cables and internal wiring (even inside the battery pack) to keep the resistance down to reasonable levels, or else considerably higher voltage. More realistically, we’ll likely see both thicker cables/heavier wiring and higher voltage. Trying to use only one approach or the other would probably be unnecessarily expensive; a two-pronged approach will likely be less expensive.

        800 volt charging in mass produced cars may seem unlikely today, but let’s keep in mind that in the days of the Model T Ford, motoring cross country at 70+ MPH for 8-10 hours a day appeared even more unlikely.

      4. Priusmaniac says:

        We actually have to go double that to 1600 V to be able to Megacharge at 1000 KW for a true fast charging experience.
        There has been a lot of focus on auto pilot lately and the very fast charging part seems to be left a bit on the side as well as the automatic charging system like the Tesla Snake or another system (pantographs expending from under the car for instance). Let’s hope this takes some traction again.

  4. Jelloslug says:

    Another trend I have noticed is that the construction time has been cut on more recent Superchargers.

    1. vdiv says:

      That would happen with experience, however the time depends on many external factors such as permits, power companies, weather, “incidents”, etc. that are outside of Tesla’s or their contractors’ control.

  5. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Even as an avid supporter for Tesla, I find it troubling how the company is falling behind on expanding its Supercharger network. Doubling the number of Superchargers by this year would be a good start; let’s hope that Tesla can stick to its schedule this time. However, if Tesla plans on selling 500,000 cars per year, that’s almost exactly 10 times their 2015 production, so Tesla will need to build out Supercharger stalls at 10 times the speed they did in 2015, if they plan to keep up.

    Here’s hoping that we will soon see both an international true standard (not competing formats) for EV charging, and that we’ll see one or more independent, for-profit companies start to build out a nationwide or (in Europe) continent-wide EV fast-charge network to rival Tesla’s.

    Sooner or later, Tesla needs to get out of the business of building public fast-chargers for its own cars. Ford didn’t build a nationwide network of gas stations to support Model T sales, and it will be better if Tesla doesn’t need to, either. Personally, I hope it happens sooner.

    1. Nix says:

      Getting people from parking forever at superchargers, and using them for daily local charging will go a long way towards increasing the usefulness of existing chargers.

      My impression based upon what has been reported here, is that the supercharger crowding problems were localized and attributable to a relatively few number of drivers.

      I haven’t heard of crowding problems still happening after Tesla added the parking fees. If anybody has heard something I haven’t, please let me know if I’m simply uninformed on the latest news, and it is still a problem.

    2. Priusmaniac says:

      More superchargers will do the trick but if Superchargers become Megachargers, faster charging will give a big relieve as well because charging faster is not only good to get back on the road faster but also to charge more vehicles per hour per charger. So you can do more with less Megachargers or need to install fewer Megachargers than Supercharger for a same number of vehicles.

      The number of chargers needed is reverse proportional to the charging speed.

    3. David Cary says:

      I would say not quite.

      I want more locations. But crowding is not the issue. Crowding is the issue in CA urban locations and A few on key routes. Those need 10X increase. The rest of the nation can do with doubling. And honestly we will probably get a 50% bump and the CA areas will get a 5X bump – so an overall doubling.

      And at some point, you can handle 10X cars with less than 10X spots. Since they aren’t packed all the time and larger numbers should smooth out the peaks.

  6. Charles says:

    An ambitious target! If they plan on reaching this goal I imagine they have an arrangement with a nationwide chain of restaurants or similar.

  7. jim stack says:

    I’d also like Tesla to finish the I-10 route from Tucson, AZ to El Paso Texas. Expansion is nice but finish the routes 1st. It was supposed to be done in 2016. Let’s get going.

  8. captylor says:

    SuperCharger Count at Model 3 Unveil Event on March 31,2016..
    Showed Tesla Supercharger Count at 3,608 with 3,689 Destination Chargers. With a goal of doubling that by the end of 2017 to Super Chargers 7,200 and 15,000 Destination Chargers.
    Then the number now is about 5,043.

    Going by the Data from https://supercharge.info/#changes
    tracking the changes since March 31,2016 Worldwide from 608 to 836 and for the USA from 275 to 378.
    Progress looks good for the goal of “Doubling by the end of 2017.”

    1. Pluto says:

      This was before Tesla moved their 500k cars/year goal from 2020 to the end of 2018.

  9. Priusmaniac says:

    To Tesla’s support, I think it was far from expectable that absolutely no other car builders would ask to join the Supercharger system, despite Elon proposing and calling to do so at very open and honest conditions. If Ford, GM, BMW or others had joined, the expansion possibilities would have been increase proportionally and therefore more locations would have been equipped already.

    Despite that unexpected absence of reaction of the others and much slower pace at making their own large battery EV, Tesla is still doing fine in expending the chargers.

  10. Pat75014 says:

    I hope these new SuperCharger plugs will all be at next SC v3 level, for which German/Porsche 350KW standard will be for children toys… Per Elon recent tweet. So my guessing is for 500KW to 600KW on SC v3. That will allow to charge each car up to 5X faster, hence charge 5X as many cars with same number of plugs at rush hours… And 10x more if you double the number of plugs as said here.
    Question is what Tesla Model / Battery will be able to take full advantage of SC v3 when available. Today best 100KWH Model S & X can only charge at up to 120KW full stop (1.2C), backed with 8 years unlimited millage warranty on Batteries and electric motors. I’m afraid if Tesla allows 5X faster charging they may downgrade the battery warranty time/millage and/or limit this only to new models using the new 2170 Battery modules designed for Model 3. Elon tweeted last week that by year end 2017 all new Tesla cars produced will share same 2170 battery modules, including current Models S & X, likely benefiting new 2170 based battery models announced by then, or current models will switch to 2170 cells at a certain date.. later this year. I’m waiting till Elon clarifies this SC v3 announcement to place my Model X 100D P.O. at €140K. No question for me to purchase current model with 18650 battery modules that may stay forever limited to 120KW when new ones with 2170 modules may cost less and charge up to 5X faster on the motorways to my vacation locations with all family and luggage on board, in the middle of nowhere… 5X faster SuperCharging is critical to me, so I’ll wait till I know all SC v3 story for sure.

    1. Ziv says:

      Pat, if you were in charge of Tesla SuperCharger installation, would you install 6 8 stall locations that were 150 kW capable or would you install 3 8 stall locations that were 350 kW capable?

      I am just guessing that a 133% increase in charge rate would cost around twice as much, but the number is probably close to being right. You could have more locations for the same price if you accepted 150 kW vs. 350 kW.
      Is the increase in charge speed worth having fewer charging locations?

      Flip side of the coin, if your chargers charge more than twice as fast for most of the cars charging, you could charge nearly as many cars with a lower amount of stall per location…

      My point, and there is one, is that once you get over 75 kW charge rates you have harvested most of the low hanging fruit. Faster is better, but 75 kW is pretty fast and 150 kW is smoking hot. Which brings us to another question. How do you dissipate the large amount of heat generated when you charge at a rate faster than 75 kW? It is a lot of heat. Getting rid of it will add complexity which usually manifests itself as additional cost and complexity.

      My gut on this is that 75 kW will do for many locations and 150 kW will generally only be useful in high use SuperCharger locations, at least for the next handful of years.

      1. Tiger says:

        Solution is simple. 130kwh battery and I can either drive to my destination in one leg OR have a longer stop with meal etc. and charge at current supercharger rates.

        I’ll place my order as soon as either one is included: 130kwh battery OR 80% range charge in less than 15 minutes.

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