Owners of Tesla Motors’ Model S electric car will be able to travel long distances without spending a dime on recharging, thanks to the company’s new “Supercharging” stations.
Tesla has installed six solar-powered stations in California, with plans to have 100 stations active across the U.S. in 2015. The Superchargers, as they’re called, can recharge the Model S’ batteries within half an hour at no cost whatsoever.
How can this be? Well, the Supercharger’s technology was developed internally, using existing charging tech already used by the Model S — meaning the Superchargers were created at minimal cost.
What’s more, the Supercharger uses power from a solar carport system provided by SolarCity, which results in “almost zero marginal energy cost after installation.”
Tesla claims each Supercharging system generates more energy from the sun than is consumed by Tesla vehicles using it; this results in a slight net-positive transfer of sun-generated power, which is transmitted back to the electricity grid.
The Supercharger is “substantially more powerful than any charging technology to date,” Tesla says, as it provides 90 kilowatts of power to the Model S (the technology has the potential to go as high as 120 kilowatts in the future); this means half an hour of charging at Supercharging stations can sustain three hours of driving at 60 mph.
This mileage might not seem that impressive to owners of gas-powered vehicles — until they remember that all of it is free. You could, for example, start your trip at Los Angeles, Calif., make a half-hour stop mid-way, and end up in Gilroy, Calif.; that would cost you $0 on gas or charging.
Of course, users are limited to California right now, but as Tesla expands the program and introduces more Supercharging stations, drivers could theoretically travel all over the U.S. without spending a dime on charging. Europe and Asia should see their first Supercharging stations installed in the second half of 2013.
What do you think about this technology? Would Superchargers make you consider purchasing a Tesla Model S? Share your opinions in the comments.