Tesla Motors’ Supercharger is billed as the world’s fastest EV charging system

Tesla Model S and Tesla RoadsterTesla Motors tried to set the bar for electric automotive performance and style with its Model S, and now the company is giving that sleek sedan a suitability high-performance charging system. Tesla says its charger, modestly dubbed “Supercharger,” is the fastest of its kind.

Tesla says the system is “like an adrenaline shot for you battery.” That’s a very odd image, but if Tesla’s claims prove true, the Supercharger could make current EVs into viable long-distance vehicles, despite their relatively short ranges.

Tesla says the Supercharger can add 150 miles of range to its 85 kWh (the largest battery pack Tesla makes) Model S in just a half hour. It reckons conventional 240 volt outlets and high-powered wall units can only add 16 and 31 miles of range, respectively, in that time.

The Supercharger cuts charge times by pumping more electricity into a car’s batteries. At 90 kW, it easily outdraws conventional systems, which typically produce 10 to 20 kW. Tesla says all those watts are routed through special cables to keep things safe, and that said cables plug directly into the Model S’ battery to further increase charging speed.

Tesla plans to set up a network of over 100 Supercharger stations by 2015 to keep the juice flowing. The stations will be located at restaurants and malls so drivers have something to do while their Teslas recharge.

Six charging stations are already open in Tesla’s home state, California. Located in Los Angeles, Barstow, Tejon Ranch, Harris Ranch, Gilroy, and Folsom, they create a 200-mile radius circle that also encompasses San Francisco and Las Vegas.

In other words, the maximum distance between any of those cities or a Supercharger is 200 miles, well within the range of the 85 kWh Model S and 40 miles beyond the range of the base 40 kWh model.

The next round of Superchargers will be installed in urban corridors throughout the United States and Canada, creating a similar chain of stations for intercity electric car travel. Tesla has earmarked Vancouver-San Diego, Montreal-New York, and Los Angeles-New York as the three corridors it would like to develop.

Tesla will also export the Supercharger to Europe and Asia in the second half of 2013.

Although there has been talk of standardizing EV chargers, Tesla did not say whether the Supercharger is compatible with other companies’ vehicles. Given the trick direct-to-battery connection, it may not work with other cars.

A lack of charging stations has limited most EVs to commuter duty and general urban driving, but Tesla has decided to take matters into its own hands on this one. A cross-country network of charging stations is about as ambitious as the Model S itself, and both might be necessary to make Tesla’s vision feasible.

Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.

Tesla could show the electric pickup Elon Musk is dying to build in 2019

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself.

‘Magic: The Gathering’ enters esports relevance with $10 million prize pool

Wizards of the Coast is pushing Magic: The Gathering into esports relevance with a prize pool of $10 million across the tabletop version and Magic: The Gathering Arena. Will the game be able to compete with Hearthstone and Overwatch?

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.