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What It Takes To Build A Tesla Supercharger DC Fast-Charging Site


Tesla Supercharger DC fast-charging site, Goodland, Kansas. Photo by Electric Conduit Construction.

Tesla Supercharger DC fast-charging site, Goodland, Kansas. Photo by Electric Conduit Construction.

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As more public charging stations are built, electric-car drivers have access to increasingly-large areas of the U.S.

Owners of the Tesla Model S plug-in car largely rely on the company's Supercharger network, which can now facilitate a cross-country trip on one route, with more to come.

But what does it actually take to build a Supercharger station? A lot of digging, apparently.

This diagram and photos of Electric Conduit Construction working at a new Supercharger site in Goodland, Kansas, surfaced on Teslarati.

They show a bit of the process of intsalling DC fast-charging stations--which involves trenching and running high-capacity electric cables well before the charging stations themselves are installed.

The Superchargers are sited in the parking lot of a Holiday Inn Express hotel; the company had to dig trenches so underground power conduits can be laid by the local utility.

Tesla Supercharger DC fast-charging site, Goodland, Kansas. Photo by Electric Conduit Construction.

Tesla Supercharger DC fast-charging site, Goodland, Kansas. Photo by Electric Conduit Construction.

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These conduits connect the charging stations to a power distribution center, which in turn is connected to a transformer that provides the power for charging cars.

It took 11 days to install the six charging stalls in Goodland, located in the northeast corner of the state.

Since the first Supercharger site opened in 2012, Tesla has steadily expanded the network to make long-distance trips easier for Model S owners.

Supercharger stations could become even more numerous over the next few years if carmakers accept Tesla CEO Elon Musk's suggestion to use the Supercharger as a new fast-charging standard. It's now one of three such standards.

The other two are the CHAdeMO standard currently favored by Nissan and Mitsubishi, and the Combined Charging Standard that is starting to be built into small numbers of vehicles by several U.S. and German manufacturers.

Tesla officials have met with their counterparts from BMW and Nissan to discuss charging back in June, although nothing substantial from these talks has come to light thus far.

Tesla Supercharger DC fast-charging site, Goodland, Kansas. Photo by Electric Conduit Construction.

Tesla Supercharger DC fast-charging site, Goodland, Kansas. Photo by Electric Conduit Construction.

Enlarge Photo
Less dramatic is the progress with Tesla's other electric-car charging technology: battery swapping.

Over a year after Musk first demonstrated battery swapping, no apparent progress has been made.

Battery-swapping would have originally garnered Zero-Emission Vehicle credits from the California Air Resources Board, but that regulatory body has proposed changing its rules.

Without that financial incentive, it seems Supercharging will remain the preferred way for extending a Tesla's range for the time being.

That means contractors like the ones in Goodland should have plenty of work to come, from the many locations marked "Future" on Tesla's Supercharger maps.

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