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Tesla launches first six Supercharger locations; 100 kW charging, with 120 kW in future

Tesla Motors unveiled the first locations in its Supercharger network, which will allow the Model S to travel long distances with ultra fast charging throughout California, parts of Nevada and Arizona. The Supercharger is substantially more powerful than any charging technology to date, providing almost 100 kW of power to the Model S, with the potential to go as high as 120 kW in the future.

This can replenish three hours of driving at 60 mph in about half an hour, which is the convenience inflection point for travelers at a highway rest stop, according to Tesla. Most people who begin a road trip at 9:00 a.m. would normally stop by noon to have lunch, refresh and pick up a coffee or soda for the road, all of which takes about 30 minutes.

Tesla said it developed the core technology internally and that it leverages the economies of scale of existing charging technology already used by the Model S, enabling Tesla to create the Supercharger device at minimal cost. The electricity used by the Supercharger comes from a solar carport system provided by SolarCity.

Tesla said it plans to install Superchargers in high traffic corridors across the continental United States. Tesla will also begin installing Superchargers in Europe and Asia in the second half of 2013.

Model S comes with three battery options; the 85 kWh Model S has received a US fuel economy rating of 89 MPGe and an EPA-rated range of 265 miles. Supercharging hardware is standard on Model S vehicles equipped with an 85 kWh battery and optional on Model S vehicles equipped with a 60 kWh battery.



Put in key points across the state, this would make the weekend drive possible. Perhaps next they can put them along route 66?


The first six, which were developed and deployed in secret, are in Barstow, Hawthorne, Lebec, Coalinga, Gilroy and Folsom. Tesla spokeswoman Christina Ra said they are open only to company employees, but would be available to the public in early October.

Nick Lyons

Very cool. I live on central coast of CA, halfway between LA and San Francisco--about 220/230 miles to either metro. Having a car that can drive to the big city without worrying about range limits is a make-or-break issue for me (not that I can afford a Model S--maybe one of the promised future mass-market models...).

My next worry is about battery longevity. Tesla warrants the battery for 8 years, but then what? Replacement has got to be hyper-expensive, implying that these cars will depreciate steeply, unless the battery pack replacement is much cheaper down the road.


This is the first generation of practical high voltage quick charge (100 Kw and 120 Kw) stations. The second generation will see higher voltage and much more power, probably up to 200 Kw for future extended range BEVs.

NL...yes you can expect batteries price to drop to 1/3 and even 1/4 current price by 2022 or so while volume and weight could go down similarly. In another 10 or 15 years from now, problems with batteries will be past history.


Nick, remember that a 8 year "warranty" does NOT mean you have to replace the battery every 8 years. A warranty only means they will cover the costs of servicing it if something goes wrong during those 8 years. Now long the battery lasts past that is really an issue of "cycle life" and even the cycle life of a battery is not so straightforward... as I understand it.

Let's say you have a battery pack with a rated cycle life of 3000, does that means you have to replace the pack after 3000 cycles? No, it depends on how much capacity you need. Batteries don't just magically stop working, cycle life is measured by how long it takes for a pack to lose 20% of its capacity. So if you have a 100 mile range pack at the end of cycle life you'd still have an 80 mile range car at the end of those 3000 cycles, and a 60 mile range at the end of another 3000 cycles. Also how quickly you reach end of cycle life depends on how deeply you routinely discharge the pack.

The EPA official range for the 85 kW·h battery pack model S is 265 miles (426 km) but Tesla expects 300, so if you really need 230 miles how long you can use your pack before replacement depends on how many times you make that trip.


Projected Supercharger coverage within two years.


This will go far to help popularize the idea of long distance EV travel. A half hour charge cycle is perfect for roadside lunch, coffee breaks. In fact due to the geek-element, many Model S owners will look forward to the charge activity, confirming their brilliance in going EV.

The weakest link is the solar part. At 12% efficiency for an average 33% insolation/day, the panels will not be able to service many charges. Clearly, supplemental grid power will be needed. But it sounds good to the public and will be quickly replaced by newer far less costly solutions:


Reel, solar is about to kick some serious efficiency tail. There are PV in the works that can double that efficiency and perhaps triple it.


Nissan says that the early battery capacity loss in the Leaf is not a surprise. It is an issue only if you deep cycle the battery or run it hot.

And that the warantee covers battery replacement anyway.


Their system deep cycles the battery.

They use marginal (lower cost) AIR cooling.

The car is supposed to be able to run at high power - "EVEN" on a freeway (or are these just "City Kars"?)

The warantee covers battery failure only; not loss of capacity.

Go ahead; invest 100k$ in a Tesla and find out how that works out.

No wonder Toyota is going to concentrate on hybrids.



Efficiency is mostly higher, in the 16% range for bog standard monocrystalline silicon panels. The roof supposedly has 30 kW of solar panels (I read that somewhere, didn't verify), which will on average generate 120 kWh per day in California and large parts of the US. That is enough for serving about 2 customers per day. For now and the coming years this seems good enough.

It is important to see the larger picture here. Solar power and other forms of variable renewable generation capacity still have a relatively low penetration. The power fed into the grid by the solar panels will always offset some fossil generation elsewhere.

Essentially, the superchargers provide their own energy, but with timeshifting. For now this is not an issue, a few decades into the future, we will likely need a storage solution of some sort. But I don't expected these supercharger stations to last that long.

The big picture extends to the entire supercharger network. Some will be more popular than others, so some stations will be net generators, others will be net consumers. The criterion should be that the entire supercharger network provides for itself, perhaps with the help of renewable energy generated elsewhere (eg. PV farm in Arizona or a wind farm in Iowa).


Oh, and another observation. Is the 120 kW for the upcoming 100 kWh high-end battery for the Model X. (I made up that rumour just now).

Joe Jokic

I’m not sure this is technically very feasible for mass implementation.

Charging power of 100kW requires about 700 sq m or 8000 sq ft of solar panels, at today’s efficiency. This seems to be still doable if there is only one car to be charged per a station, but if there is 10 of them, that would seem to require about two acres of land for panels.

There could also be some problems related to the fact that solar panels don’t produce much when it is cloudy and much less during the night :) . While, if the power to charge 10 cars is to come from the grid, that would require about 1MW of capacity, not particularly small, and that energy has to come from somewhere as well.

In any case, to fully charge an 85kWh battery it would take about an hour (if the source can constantly provide 100kW to also supply some losses).

Finally, at 400V and charging power of 100kW, the current would seem to be in the range of 250Amp. This is a bit high and I’m not sure that there is any battery out there which will last long at this charging rate, but I could be wrong.

Nor handling a “house” which can provide 400V and 250Amp will be deemed very safe.


Thanks Anne. A 100 x 80' roof is pretty big. Not sure how you "time shift" without storage. And in northern Cali with more cloud cover - does the charge time increase if there is not storage?

Anyway, a cool idea and if I had a Model S I would plan a trip that follows the network (uber-geeky.) There are better solutions for EV charging on the way.

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