Range is something of an issue for EV owners, even those who bought their electric cars from Tesla. The EV start-up, which offers the highest-capacity battery packs in the business, is looking to offer a way to make longer road trips plausible without having to install internal combustion range extenders to its cars. Enter the Tesla Supercharger station, of which Tesla has now opened six in California. These are public charging stations for Tesla owners which will not only deliver a partial charge extremely quickly, but are also free to use.
The principal behind these stations is fairly simple. Batteries can be charged very quickly when they are nearly depleted, and this is what the Supercharger station does. Tesla owners can replenish their batteries to point where they have 150 out of the 265 miles of range which the Model S is capable of in just 30 minutes with a Supercharger. Topping it off the rest of the way requires standard charging, but 150 miles is quite a lot for just 30 minutes of charging, and Tesla has placed the stations in high traffic areas between large cities in California with the intent of getting owners of their EVs that extra bit of distance needed to get to their destination.
The Supercharger charging equipment connects directly to the car’s battery, bypassing the onboard charging system. It charges at 90 kW, and is 4.7 times faster than the already-quick home charging stations which Tesla will install for you when you buy a Model S. The stations are located not just along routes where they are deemed most useful, but also near restaurants, shops and other such locations which will help you to kill 30 minutes while you wait for your EV to charge.
The chain of stations makes it possible to travel by EV from Los Angeles all the way to San Francisco with just a couple of relatively quick charging stops. Tesla says that their plan is to extend the model across the whole country, making charging pipelines from coast to coast and across Canada as well. As an added eco bonus, the tops of the stations are covered in solar panels, thus sidestepping the problem of dirty electricity generation. Nationwide implementation will be a much more difficult undertaking, but assuming that everything goes according to plan with these first stations, it’s not an insurmountable goal.