Tesla Has a Habit of Turning What's Thought to be Impossible Into Possible
It's not often that Forbes get involved in the electric vehicle space, but when questionable claims are made against an automaker and Forbes gets wind of the red flags waving in the air, then expect there to be a response from the publication.
Tesla Supercharger Map Current as of Today (9/17)
That's precisely the case here, but Forbes missed the mark, too (more on that comes further on down the page).
A recent Forbes article, titled "Another Bet Against Tesla Goes Bust As The Company Draws A 21," is in direct response to some suspect claims made by a green automotive blog. The blog claimed that Tesla failed to hit its "Summer 2013" Supercharging goals by a fairly significant amount...a judgement that was put forth by the blog nearly two weeks before Summer actually ended.
The word of Forbes contributor Mark Rogowsky will tell most of the story from here on out:
"Tesla promised this past spring that before summer was through, it would have 18 of its high-speed Supercharger stations up and running, allowing longer-distance travel for more owners of its Model S sedan. And just last week, with the last days of the season disappearing off the calendar, the folks at Green Car Reports bet that the company would fail to make its self-imposed deadline. Six days ago, with only half the locations officially open, the bet seemed like a decent one. But the company again proved the doubters wrong."
"As of today, Tesla claims not just the 18 locations it promised in May but instead has 21 Superchargers up and running, making official a dozen in the past week alone..."
Rogowksy closes with this statement:
25 Superchargers by Summer 2013 - Click to Enlarge
"Expect some more bets against Tesla pulling it off. Just don’t necessarily expect those bets to come up winners."
But the problem is that neither Rogowky at Forbes nor Green Car Reports (not even in its recent follow-up post) got it right. And here's why: as you can clearly see from the graphic to your right, the Tesla Motors' projection was to have 25 Supercharger stations operational (note: IT guys or graphic designers update these features, not Tesla execs) by the end of Summer 2013 (September 21, to be exact). That was the figure noted in the graphic when Tesla announced its Supercharger expansion plans back on May 30, 2013. At the time, only 8 Supercharger stations (see graphic further down below) were active in the US. Tesla's press release reads as follows:
"Triple the number of Tesla Supercharger stations by the end of next month (see note below), 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."
Note: It should immediately be pointed out that when Tesla stated "by the end of next month" it actually meant "Summer 2013." This was an error that Elon Musk went on record to correct immediately following the announcement.
So, simple math says that to triple the number of Superchargers "by Summer 2013," Tesla needs to have 24 operational by September 21st, and they will indeed do it.
As Shanna Hendricks, Tesla's Communications Manager, told InsideEVs today:
Supercharger Installs Are Worth Celebrating
"We are opening three more Supercharger sites this week: Port Orange, FL; Darien, CT and Glenwood Springs, CO."
21 operational today + 3 more coming online this week = 24
In fact, Tesla added a further note on their accomplishments:
"We actually had 24 Superchargers open by August 29 - we opened six Superchargers in Norway last month.
By the end of this week , the total number of open Tesla Superchargers will be at 30."
Tesla's Supercharger map that was released concurrently with the May 30, 2013 press release clearly shows that 25 were expected to be operational (again, that IT guy can be probably blamed for any discrepancies here) by "Summer 2013," but that map has always been considered a projected outlook and nothing was set in stone. So, the actual figure Tesla is shooting for is 24. It's not 18 total as Forbes claims and it's not 18 "new" Superchargers as Green Car Reports claims.
The 18 "new" figure comes from Tesla's projected Supercharger install maps it released and updated throughout the year. This figure was never officially announced by Tesla, nor were the locations of most of the future sites. The only thing that denoted these future "projected" sites were gray dots on the map. Gray dots that had no official explanation as to their meaning put forth by Tesla (they could be Walmart stores for all we know). There was never an official announcement regarding what these gray dots meant, nor was there ever a mention made directly by Tesla saying that these "projected" sites would come online by "Summer 2013."
What Do You Think Those Gray Dots Represent? Future Supercharger Sites?
Beyond the "tripling" of the Supercharger network by "Summer 2013," Tesla never officially promised anything. That "tripling" was Tesla's only official goal and it's a goal that will be met later this week.
By Tesla's words (and not by relying on some "projected" site map that gets updated by IT guys), it's been confirmed to us that the goal of "tripling" the Supercharger network by "Summer 2013" will be met.
So, in closing, despite all the hair-splitting going on, we'd like to simply congratulate Tesla on its tremendous achievement. But even if a Supercharger went missing here...or an extra one popped up there...should any of us care that much? No...let's celebrate with cake, because everything is better with cake!!!
Additional Sources: Tesla Motors