Tesla Supercharger fast-charging system for electric carsEnlarge Photo
Last spring, a map on Tesla's website promised that 18 new "Superchargers"--the ultra-fast charging stations for its Model S electric luxury car--would be activated around the U.S. during "Summer 2013."
Though summer's not technically over until September 21, most of us have put away the sunscreen, sent the kids off to school, and transitioned to Fall mode.
As the equinox looms, only nine of those 18 promised Superchargers have materialized. (Two additional stations have appeared that were not promised on the Summer 2013 map.)
Tesla Motors Supercharger network in Summer 2013 - released May 2013Enlarge Photo
A .500 batting average is really good in baseball. But it's pretty mediocre if you're trying to fulfill company promises to eagerly waiting customers of your expensive electric car.
Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] is currently scrambling to boost that average before the deadline.
UPDATE: As of roughly noon Eastern time, Tesla removed the "Summer 2013" section of the map from its website.
Fortunately, we have a photo of what it looked like before the company edited the graphic, at left above.
FURTHER UPDATE: And just for the record, here's a photo of that 18 new Supercharger locations that Tesla promised back in May, before any of them were opened, below.
Tesla Motors Supercharger network in Summer 2013 - map as of Sep 10, 2013Enlarge Photo
Five more coming very soon
Tesla communications manager Shanna Hendriks said yesterday that the company will open five new Superchargers "this week and in to the next," just beating the end-of-summer deadline.
Two will be in Waco, Texas, and Rockford, Illinois. The locations of the other three remain a mystery.
As a Model S owner living in New York State, I'm chagrined to report that the Northeast so far has gotten the short end of the summer Supercharger stick.
The map from last spring promised us Northeast owners four new Superchargers this summer.
Judging from the crude, small-scale map, they appeared to be along I-95 near Providence, Rhode Island; Darien, Connecticut; New Brunswick, New Jersey; and Richmond, Virginia.
So far, only the Darien Supercharger is up and running. And it's essentially redundant with the already-existing Supercharger in Milford, Connecticut, a mere 25 miles up the road to the northeast.
Tesla Road Trip from MD to CT, Feb 2013 - Tesla Model S cars at Delaware SuperCharger locationEnlarge Photo
Looks like I'll be driving my Volt on long-distance trips for a while longer.
California, Northwest win
The coffee-slurping granola-crunchers of the Northwest, on the other hand, are in summer Supercharger heaven. Not only do they have both their promised summer stations open, but a third one has gone on line south of Portland ahead of schedule.
California, home state of Tesla Motors and the hotbed of Model S activity, had six Superchargers operational last May, with four more promised by summer.
Only two of those have materialized, but a third new station has arrived ahead of schedule to join them.
If Tesla can open the five new Superchargers by the deadline as promised, its summer Supercharger batting average will rise to .778. Not bad.
And if one of the mystery Superchargers--or two, or three of them--happen to open in the Northeast, not bad at all.
2011 Chevrolet Volt and 2013 Tesla Model S [photo: David Noland]Enlarge Photo
Long-distance Model S travel at last?
The current Fall 2013 Supercharger map on the Tesla website mistakenly shows the three currently missing Northeast summer stations as completed.
Tantalizingly, it also displays seven more Northeast dots, representing new Superchargers due to open within the next three months.
One appears to be just a few miles from my home in the Hudson Valley.
If those stations open as scheduled, by Christmas I'll be able to drive my Model S virtually anywhere I want to go, visiting friends in upstate New York, Maine, Cape Cod, even North Carolina. All for zero fuel cost.
But will Tesla bat 1.000 next season? Probably not.
I'm steeling myself for a lump of coal or two in my Christmas stocking._______________________________________________