Tesla Motors, the company behind the highly ambitious all electric vehicle, revealed their Supercharger network on September 24, 2012. The first six locations in Folsom, Gilroy, Harris Ranch, Tejon Ranch, Barstow, and Los Angeles, California mark the beginning of a plan to launch 100 Supercharger stations across the country by 2015. The solar-powered charging stations allow Model S owners to charge their $100,000 vehicle at no additional cost.
The Supercharger station is a carport system designed by SolarCity. The solar powered station actually draws in more energy than Tesla drivers can pull from it allowing the Supercharger stations to have a surplus of energy that will be fed back into the power grid. The net positive energy effect means that Model S users will soon be able to drive across the country on pure sunlight without spending a dime on any fueling method.
The Supercharger stations reënergize the battery array on the Model S significantly faster than any home charger. By providing 100 kilowatts of power to the vehicle, the battery can be half-charged in 30 minutes allowing for around 3 hours of driving at 60 miles per hour.
This marks a particularly exciting advancement for energy efficient transportation. The Model S has negligible running environmental effects and the electricity burden for powering at a Supercharger station is not pushed back to a coal plant. Save the for the resources needed to manufacture the vehicles and eventually dispose of their batteries, the lifetime of the car is highly efficient.
If other auto-makers get into the business of developing more electric cars, Tesla is exerting its dominance not just in making the vehicle, but also creating a highly efficient infrastructure for powering their vehicles. It isn’t too far of a reach to assume Tesla might allow other manufacturers to use their standardized plug system and profit share with SolarCity (a company where Tesla Motors CEO and Founder Elon Musk is also Chairman). While it will take some time for there to be financial returns on the Model S and the Supercharger programs, they both mark trajectories into an emission free future.