Tesla Motors, makers of fine electric performance vehicles, recently surprised the mainstream with news its Model S performance sedan had surpassed Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8 and BMW 7-series in sales for the first quarter in the US. For a company that only released the Model S last June, news of this exponential interest was not only surprising but worked to further validate consumer interest in a fully electric vehicle. On top of the surprising sales figures, media sources like Consumer Reports proclaimed Tesla's Model S to be one of the "best cars they'd ever tested." With positive feedback and increasing sales of the Model S, Tesla has identified an expansion of its Supercharger networks as a critical next step.
Tesla's dedicated Supercharger networks, launched late in 2012, are already a part of the EV landscape in California, New York and Delaware, but the company has plans to increase the network not only on the east and west coast but across the US and into the great frozen land of moose and beaver, Canada.
Current coverage shows eight stations strategically located in theses regions, but by summer Tesla plans to increase this figure to 27. By September of this year they anticipate placement of Supercharger networks in most key metropolitan areas. Tesla is touting coast-to-coast capabilities by the time the snow falls in New York City this year. Tesla claims that by 2014 they will have secured networks in 80 percent of both the US and Canada, with this figure increasing to 98 percent by 2015.
It should however be noted that Tesla's figure of 98-percent coverage appears to be somewhat ambiguous given the coverage indicated for Canada on their map, shown below. The percentage appears to be land area within range of a Supercharger station. It appears Tesla owners in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia will have to rely on the prerequisite orange Canadian Tire extension cords to provide juice from their place of residence.
Tesla's Supercharger network, which runs 120 kW of power direct to the Model S, is unlike regular EV charging systems which can only provide outputs from 7 kW to 10 kW, with ranges of 10 to 15 miles (16 to 26 km) on a 30-minute charge. But with Tesla's 120 kW Supercharger networks, Model S owners can stop over at strategically located stations near diners, cafes or malls, grab a coffee, donut or three, and in 30 minutes have enough charge to run another 200 miles (320 km).
The networks as they exist today are set up on key freeways between select metropolitan centers like Washington, DC to New York City, or Los Angeles to San Francisco. This new-found freedom offered by an expanded network should not only enhance already impressive sales figures but help convert petrol power mentalities over to the way of the Elon and reduce reluctance towards future EV projects.
Also in the works, Tesla is working on improving its existing Supercharger technology, to reduce Model S charging times from 30 minutes down to 20. This quicker charge will still provide drivers the same range as the existing system just in a shorter charge cycle. Tesla anticipates to roll out the new system by the time summer hits North America.
Visit Tesla's progression map to see which regions and where their Supercharging networks will expand out to over the coming years.
Catch Elon Musk discussing Tesla's Supercharger network, and its expansion plans, in the YouTube clip below.
Source: Tesla Motors