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Tesla expanding Supercharger network; boosting charging to 120 kW

Tesla’s vision of the Supercharger network in 2015. Click to enlarge.

Tesla Motors announced an accelerated rollout of its Tesla Supercharger network, which delivers quick charging for Tesla Model S drivers over long distances (i.e., city-to-city travel), for free.

The company also said that it is currently in beta test with new technology for the Supercharger that will allow Model S to be charged at 120 kW, replenishing enough energy for three hours of driving in just over 20 minutes. This essentially cuts the current charging time in half relative to early trials of the system. The new technology will be fully rolled out to customers this summer.

The expansion of the Supercharger network builds upon the initial deployment of the network in California and Nevada on the west coast and the Washington, DC to Boston region on the east coast.

Tesla says that the Supercharger network has enabled an estimated 1 million miles of electric driving since going live in October 2012.

The accelerated rollout of the Tesla Supercharger network will see:

  • Triple the number of Tesla Supercharger stations by the end of next month, including additional stations in California, coverage of the northwest region from Vancouver to Seattle to Portland, Austin to Dallas in Texas, Illinois and Colorado. There will also be four additional eastern seaboard stations, expanding the density of the network to provide for more convenient stopping points.

  • Within six months, Tesla plans for the Supercharger network to connect most of the major metro areas in the US and Canada, including expansion into Arizona, additional stations in Texas, Florida, and the Midwest, stations connecting Ottawa to Montreal, and across North and South Carolina into Georgia. It will also be possible to travel diagonally across the country from Los Angeles to New York using only the Tesla Supercharger network.

  • In one year, Tesla plans for the Supercharger network to stretch across the continent, covering almost 80% of the population of the US and Canada, said Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO. In two years, that coverage should extend to around 98%, he added.

By buying a Tesla you essentially have free long-distance travel throughout the country forever.

—Elon Musk



Not too long ago, many posters claimed that 100 kWh quick chargers, let alone 120 kWh, were not possible. Well, here they are and more powerful chargers (150 and 200+ kWh units) will become common place before 2020.

With charging rates up to 200 kWh, a 250 to 300 miles range between charges would be enough for most people. ICEVs fans may not like it but that's where chargers and BEVs are heading in the near to mid term.

A hand for Tesla to make it a reality.


"By buying a Tesla you essentially have free long-distance travel throughout the country forever."

I hope he is not over-stepping, but this takes a while to truly comprehend.

The last time someone actually sought to seriously improve the status quo - he was taken to Parkview.

David Snydacker

This is a very exciting announcement from Tesla. To move beyond 20-minute charging, we may need to move beyond graphite anodes. Li4Ti5O12 anodes can handle one-minute charging, but this material decreases cell voltage and energy density. State-of-the-art lab-scale silicon anodes (eg. Yi Cui at Stanford or Harold Kung at Northwestern) can handle ~10 minute charging. But more R&D is needed to harden and scale up these technologies.


Over time, Tesla plans to add solar canopies to all Supercharger stations, thanks to on-site solar panels and grid storage the Supercharger system can operate even if the electrical grid goes down.

Thomas Pedersen

Harvey, please, charging power is kW, not kWh (battery capacity). This is pretty basic.


An excellent business strategy to get the market opening up - even if it is the top of the mainstream market, but still not convinced at the workability of the convenience.
A 20-minute free near-full-charge is great but the reality is that if it becomes popular and you are 4th in line for a charge - unless they keep dozens of spots open - you could still be waiting an hour or more. Will they have attendants to make sure that the line keeps moving? Shame the swappable battery didn't get taken more seriously.


Imagine 1000 mile range Ss:

Anthony F

To figure out where super-charging will end up, you have to work backwards from a usability standpoint.

The premise is to drive for 4 hours at highway speeds, and then be able to recharge you for another 3 hours in 30 minutes (long enough to stretch and eat a meal). If you're taking a road trip over 7 hours, then you'll just have to deal with stopping to recharge every 3 hours.

The parameters will vary with the size and weight of the car but, the luxury sedan size of the Model S is a good starting point. For a Model S, this would mean a battery with 50% more energy (125kW) to go 300 miles at 75MPH (4 hours). To charge to 80% in 30 minutes you need to charge at 200kW (providing 100kWh). This would give you 230 miles at 75MPH (3 hours).



From the pictures I've seen it looks like the stations have 6 bays and there can't be that many people who would buy a $90,000 car.

BTW there's more to the free charging idea than just keeping his EV buyers happy: "Musk also serves as the chairman of SolarCity, a residential and commercial solar-panel installer that has built car port technology for the Tesla stations. The stations will generate more power than the cars need, which means Tesla will sell power back to the grid."


Yes ai_vin, future ultra quick DC charge stations, specially in sunny places, could easily be equipped with large solar cell arrays + storage + bi-directional grid connections. It is already being done in many places in Japan. A wind mill could replace the solar arrays in Northern recharge stations?

Many would like to see the day when cars will be driven around without liquid fuel and/or coal-oil-NG generated electricity.

Naysayers will scream?


Yes, a charging rate of 120 KW will deliver 120 kWh during one hour. Most EV drivers will want to know how many kWh he/she picked up.


The top-of-the-line Model S has an 85 kWh battery.  At 120 kW, the Supercharger can only supply 40 kWh in 20 minutes.  A substantially full charge is going to take closer to 30-40 minutes.

I understand that Tesla owners are using the existing Supercharger locations as social meeting places.  This stands to reason, as they are members of what is currently a very exclusive club; Volt owners need not apply.


This is a brilliant strategy and a very clever use of marketing funds. Now if you're cool (and rich!) enough to own a Tesla you get to hang out with other people like you at the charging stations. Talk about aspirational marketing!

Regarding Solar Power... Back of the envelope, 120 KW at 15% eff => 800 m^2 of panels => 30x30 meters per charging station.

That seems like a lot of land but I'd need to do a more detailed estimate considering use frequency over a 24-hour period.

Bulk price for 120 KW of panels is $60K which seems like a small cost on top of a land purchase. Hmmm this might actually make sense.

Kit P

“free ..... forever. ”

Scam forever. If Musk gives me a free car, I will pay him for the gas we would have bought on our annual cross country trip.

If we pay $85k to haul around a ton of batteries to take very limited routes we can save $600 a year. After 142 years the trips start to be free. I do not the batteries in the Tesla, but we do not have 141 trips left in us. Throw in a free hip replacement and Musk has a deal!!!


One can ID the bizarre source before reading all the posting.

Buy a ICE car with free gasoline forever and send us the MSRP.


The MSRP would be twice the list price, because you can easily spend more on fuel over the life of the car than the price of the car.


I agree with Harvey: I want to hear from all the people that said it was impossible to even build a rapid charge network. Where are all the people saying you couldn't even get that much power at the charging locations?



There would be maybe 10 between L.A. and the Bay area, not 1000s of them in a city all being used to 120,000 kW at the same time. That is a BIG difference.


I am waiting for a "I met my significant-other at a Supercharger station" story any days now!



Someone on here posted about the couple that were staying at campgrounds that had RV connections for power to charge their Tesla on a cross country trip. Those were truly devoted folks and pioneers.



Rapid charging is very expensive in the end. And probably will be available on very limited scale until existing power transmission capibilities will be utilized. For today only several thousand Teslas on the road. What would be in case several milinon them on the road. And they would need more frequent fast charging since 85 kWh battery is not mainstreem product for many coming years. But I agree Elon Musk is making remarkable progress which other big companies can only dreem on.


"I am waiting for a "I met my significant-other at a Supercharger station" story any days now!"

Our eyes met as we plugged in the Teslas and I could feel the instant surge of electricity between us. As the electrons flowed so did the current of my ardour, threatening to arc across the charging bay and spark something I couldn't control. I looked away, concentrating on AC/DC blasting out 'High Voltage' from the superb Model S audio system. But when I sneaked another glance her killerwatt smile was like an inductive force that I couldn't resist. This was one rapid charge I was hoping would last for a long long time.



If you were a woman I'd have to stalk you :-)



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