Tesla Maps Out Supercharger Network, Speeds Up Charging

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Tesla Motors Supercharger Network In 2015 - released May 2013

Tesla Motors Supercharger Network In 2015 - released May 2013

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The electric-car maker Tesla Motors [NYSE: TSLA] has announced breathtaking expansion plans for its Supercharger network, detailing where the company plans to install its proprietary Supercharger rapid-charging stations all the way through 2015.

According to CEO Elon Musk, who announced the expanded network and other improvements in a media conference call, Tesla owners will be able to choose from hundreds of stations and thousands of charging ports by 2015, and to drive all the way from Los Angeles to New York, using only the company's Supercharger network, by the end of 2013. Ultimately, the company plans to cover 98 percent of the population within the U.S. and Canada by 2015.

The supercharger announcement, already postponed by the company's announcement that it had paid off all of its Department of Energy loan, delivers detail to a long-anticipated series of tips and hints about a massive expansion of the network.

Not just new regions, but route options

The expansion won't just reach new regions of the country, but it will increase the density of stations on well-traveled routes. Tesla plans to reduce the distance between Supercharger stations to just 80 to 100 miles, and there will be some redundancy in options between stations.

Musk said he also doesn't want owners to get locked into using a single route. So for instance in California owners would eventually be able to take U.S. 101 or California 1 instead of I-5. “I think we'll probably end up doing more than what's shown here in 2015,” he added.

This summer, the company will add chargers in the Pacific Northwest, Florida, Colorado, and Illinois, along with new stations in the Northeast (stretching south to Virginia). Then this fall, new stations in Michigan and elsewhere in the Midwest will open up the possibility of long-distance travel in that region, while many more stations will fill in the gap between Virginia and Florida. By the end of the year, the company plans to open a cross-country passage mostly via I-80, through Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Minnesota, allowing that LA to New York road trip.

Vancouver to San Diego, or Montreal to Miami, are a couple of other possibilities that Tesla mentions as possible with the new network.

With the pacing of a normal road trip

With the Supercharger stations in place, owners will be able to drive for three hours, then stop for a 20-minute break before heading back out, noted Musk, who summed: “Essentially...it allows them to stop for the normal amount of time they'd stop on a road trip”

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