Tesla to dramatically expand Supercharger network


June 11, 2013

Supercharger networks are strategically located near diners, cafes, malls, etc. so drivers can relax while the system recharges the Model S for another 200 mile (320 km) run

Supercharger networks are strategically located near diners, cafes, malls, etc. so drivers can relax while the system recharges the Model S for another 200 mile (320 km) run

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Tesla Motors, makers of fine electric performance vehicles, recently surprised the mainstream with news its Model S performance sedan had surpassed Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8 and BMW 7-series in sales for the first quarter in the US. For a company that only released the Model S last June, news of this exponential interest was not only surprising but worked to further validate consumer interest in a fully electric vehicle. On top of the surprising sales figures, media sources like Consumer Reports proclaimed Tesla’s Model S to be one of the "best cars they'd ever tested." With positive feedback and increasing sales of the Model S, Tesla has identified an expansion of its Supercharger networks as a critical next step.

Tesla’s dedicated Supercharger networks, launched late in 2012, are already a part of the EV landscape in California, New York and Delaware, but the company has plans to increase the network not only on the east and west coast but across the US and into the great frozen land of moose and beaver, Canada.

Current coverage shows eight stations strategically located in theses regions, but by summer Tesla plans to increase this figure to 27. By September of this year they anticipate placement of Supercharger networks in most key metropolitan areas. Tesla is touting coast-to-coast capabilities by the time the snow falls in New York City this year. Tesla claims that by 2014 they will have secured networks in 80 percent of both the US and Canada, with this figure increasing to 98 percent by 2015.

It should however be noted that Tesla's figure of 98-percent coverage appears to be somewhat ambiguous given the coverage indicated for Canada on their map, shown below. The percentage appears to be land area within range of a Supercharger station. It appears Tesla owners in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia will have to rely on the prerequisite orange Canadian Tire extension cords to provide juice from their place of residence.

Tesla’s Supercharger network, which runs 120 kW of power direct to the Model S, is unlike regular EV charging systems which can only provide outputs from 7 kW to 10 kW, with ranges of 10 to 15 miles (16 to 26 km) on a 30-minute charge. But with Tesla’s 120 kW Supercharger networks, Model S owners can stop over at strategically located stations near diners, cafes or malls, grab a coffee, donut or three, and in 30 minutes have enough charge to run another 200 miles (320 km).

The networks as they exist today are set up on key freeways between select metropolitan centers like Washington, DC to New York City, or Los Angeles to San Francisco. This new-found freedom offered by an expanded network should not only enhance already impressive sales figures but help convert petrol power mentalities over to the way of the Elon and reduce reluctance towards future EV projects.

Also in the works, Tesla is working on improving its existing Supercharger technology, to reduce Model S charging times from 30 minutes down to 20. This quicker charge will still provide drivers the same range as the existing system just in a shorter charge cycle. Tesla anticipates to roll out the new system by the time summer hits North America.

Visit Tesla’s progression map to see which regions and where their Supercharging networks will expand out to over the coming years.

Catch Elon Musk discussing Tesla's Supercharger network, and its expansion plans, in the YouTube clip below.

Source: Tesla Motors

About the Author
Angus MacKenzie Born on the cold, barren Canadian plains of Calgary, Alberta, Angus MacKenzie couldn’t decide between marketing, automotives or an entrepreneurial path - so he chose all three. With an education in automotives and marketing, Angus has rebuilt the carburetor on his 1963 Rambler Ambassador twice, gotten a speeding ticket in an F430 once, and driven & photographed everything from Lamborghinis to Maseratis to various German and Asian designs. When not writing, Angus has for the past six years been Editor-in-Chief for elemente, an internationally recognized architecture/design magazine. All articles by Angus MacKenzie

Love 2 rent Teslas if ever possible or made some for the Rental market alone.

Stephen Russell

Is there any hope of an expansion to Europe?


Interesting that no charging stations Near or in Detroit.

That's hilarious.

But it is also interesting that Elon has hired a very talented designer, I forgot his name for the moment, but he is extremely good.

I witnessed his extreme excitement and enthusiasm over meeting Bob Lutz at the NAIAS.

Bob almost pulled it off but for the idiocy of Ed Whittacre.

The original Converj was a tad better being designed at the Vauxhall studios in England. But now it has been Hamaricanized sad to say.

Lewis Dickens

So why are there no actual figures on numbers of cars sold or numbers of EV expected to be rolling off the production line? Are we talking 10 cars or 10000 cars or 100000 cars?

Richard Chesher

FREE charging??? Forever??? That's pretty impressive! I wonder how that fits into the business model. This project must have some very high level backers.


Richard Chesher - Tesla is planning on making 20,000 to 25,000 Model S's in 2013.

Derek Howe

I am wondering about the amount of surface area needed for the solar panels. If these stations are getting real busy, it will need a lot of power!


re: warren52nz - The Free Super-Charging for the life of the car is not actually a huge loss leader for Tesla Motors. The free supercharging is only available to those buyers who chose a $2K upgrade for the internal charging hardware (let's assume there is some significant profit margin (~50%) in that upgrade)

Consider the following scenario: $0.12 / kWhr (current average retail rates in the US), 120kW charger (assume no losses) 400 miles per hour of charging on the SC network, 10,000 miles (average US leased car allowance) driven per year of which 25% - 35% are driven after SC network charging (most drivers will likely plug in at home overnight and take advantage of off-peak rates) and 10 years max life of car ownership (I don't know if used cars will be afforded the same free charging terms)

Total charging hours required: 250 hours to drive 100,000 miles Total charging on SC network: 75 hours (assume 30% of total) Total cost at retail rates: $1,080 USD (not adjusted for inflation)

Obviously the result is rather sensitive to the assumptions but even if 100% of driving was based on SC network charging, the total cost would be on the order of $3,600 less the profit on the original $2K package that gives you the free access to the SC network. In reality, I believe Elon Musk is rather intelligent and savy and I believe he is surrounded by other mental rock stars so I am willing to bet that he has done the math and considers the "free" SC network charging is a good investment.


what I want to know is, when will the self driving version be available that I book online to collect me from home and take me to my destination then go off to recharge itself. Gone are the days of Taxi drivers!


Great news!


on June 20th Tesla will not only announce but demonstrate their 5 Min system for a complete power . I think it will be the battery quick change since that would be a lot of power for 5 min, We'll see in another day or so.

PS watch their stock continue to shoot up as these new ideas are released. I just can't wait for the Tesla C 3rd gen car that will be about $30K, go 200 miles and have SuperCharge ability ! Game over

Jiminy StAck

"Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8 and BMW 7-series" That may be the comparison most places.

But due to EV tax exemption here in Denmark, Tesla S is competing with Mercedes C-Class, Audi A5 and BMW 5-series.

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