Tesla Supercharger Unveiling

Tesla Supercharger Unveiling Right about … now, Tesla Motors is unveiling its new proprietary Supercharger high-speed charging network. The livestream can be seen here, and we’ve got the first official release about the network below. Here are the details – as we know them – of the “Free! Solar! Energy!” from the headline:

  • The first six Supercharger stations have already been built – under complete secrecy in various locations in California – and now “will allow [higher-end] Model S to travel long distances with ultra fast charging throughout California, parts of Nevada and Arizona.” The high-speed charging system is only compatible on Models S version with an 85-kWh (where the necessary Supercharger bits are standard) or 60-kWh (optional) battery packs.
  • The electricity “used by the Supercharger comes from a solar carport system provided by SolarCity, which results in almost zero marginal energy cost after installation.”
  • Tesla even says each Supercharger will generate more solar energy than the Tesla vehicles will use, resulting in “a slight net positive transfer of sunlight generated power back to the electricity grid.” This point is apparently important enough to repeat: “Supercharger system will always generate more power from sunlight than Model S customers use for driving.”
  • More Supercharger locations are coming to other, “high-traffic” parts of the U.S. “by next year” and will be installed in Europe and Asia starting in late 2013.
  • Superchargers can fill up a Model S with three hours of driving (at 60 miles per hour) in around 30 minutes. The charger currently provides “almost 100 kilowatts” of power, but could be reconfigured to 120 kW down the road.

We knew some of these things based on discussions with Tesla CEO Elon Musk and other sources. There will be more details ferreted out in the coming weeks, but at first blush, this looks exactly like we’d expect a Tesla charging product to be: big, brash and beyond expectations. The dreams are big over there. What do you think the reality will be like?

By Sebastian Blanco