Just under a month ago, Tesla Motors held a gala event at its Hawthorne, California design studio to mark the switching on of its proprietary Supercharger rapid charging network. 

On Friday, Tesla held official ribbon cutting ceremonies at four of its six initial Supercharger locations, making them officially open for public use.

Opting to ignore both the J1772, level 2 charging standard found on every other production electric car today--not to mention both Chademo and recently-announced J1772 “combo connector” rapid charging standards--Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] has designed the proprietary Supercharger system specifically for its range of current and future electric cars. 

At the moment, that means only 2012 Tesla Model S luxury sedans, with the exception of base-level 40-kilowatt-hour models, can use the Supercharger network.

Over time, however, Tesla says the range of Supercharger-compatible cars will rise as it builds the technology into all of its future cars. 

That includes the highly-anticipated Model X Crossover SUV, which Tesla unveiled earlier this year.

Unlike other types of rapid charging stations, Tesla’s Supercharger is built from multiple, smaller charging units. 

Initial locations for Tesla Supercharger fast-charging system

Initial locations for Tesla Supercharger fast-charging system

In fact, each Supercharger is built from 12 chargers identical to the 10-kilowatt charger included as standard onboard every 2012 Model S Sedan. 

Rated at a maximum power of 90-kilowatts, with a future capability of going as high as 120-kilowatts, the charging stations can add as much as 150 miles of range to a Tesla Model S in half an hour. 

Eventually, Tesla aims to cover major road routes throughout the U.S. with its Supercharger technology, allowing its customers to drive from coast-to-coast, or the length of either coastline, with ease. 

For the moment, however, the first six Supercharger locations are located in California, connecting Lake Tahoe to San Francisco, San Francisco to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

Tesla won’t be charging customers for recharging, although if we’d paid upwards of $90,000 for the car--and $600 a year for servicing--we’d expect a bit of free electricity too. 


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