Supercharger: Drive for Free, Forever, On Sunlight

“Drive for Free. Forever. On Sunlight.” Don’t worry, you read that right. If you haven’t heard of Tesla Motors, your ears will be ringing with the name soon. The revolutionary California based company has been changing the face of the automotive industry one step at a time, and they’re doing it with electric cars. Now, in perhaps the most stunning move yet, they have introduced Supercharger, an electric car charging system which promises to eliminate all the major concerns about owning an electric car.

What makes the system such a game changer? Designed to charge the companies very attractive Model S, the system already has 6 charging stations installed in California. That may not seem like much until you learn that the car has a range of 300 miles and will recharge in a short 30 minutes using the 100kw system. It’s just the length of time you’d want to stop after driving that far.

Possibly the most amazing part of the system is the fact that it gains all its power from the sun. Solar panels, created in partnership with SolarCity, are sized to produce more power than the cars charging at the station will consume. This means something astounding: they will actually be putting energy back into the electrical grid for other uses, all while creating a network of cars which produce zero carbon emissions. And, to put some serious icing on the cake, Tesla is offering the service for a very attractive price to their customers – free. Again, you read that right: free. (continued below)

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, rocket builder with Space X and chairman of SolarCity, the biggest solar installer in the U.S. (how’s that for a resume?), announced the launch of the Supercharger network on September 24th to a crowd of enthusiastic onlookers. The same day, four Tesla Model S’s traveled around California for free, recharging at the new stations and proving that the system is a viable mode of traversing the country.

Future expansion plans are extensive and scheduled to arrive soon. Musk explained the companies plan to have all of California covered in 2013 and within 2 years have nearly the entire US covered. Long term plans (4-5 years) include covering the entire US, a large portion of southern Canada and expansion into Europe.

It’s an exciting time to be driving, one which will see the advent of the zero emission vehicle and free long-distance travel. Perhaps Elon Musk puts it best: “If you want to go from LA to New York, if you pack food and stay with friends, you can leave your wallet at home.”

See Elon Musk’s exciting Supercharger launch video below.

The current Supercharger network and a possible trip one could take now.

Four cars travel around California on launch day, recharging at Supercharger stations.

Expansion plans for 2013.

Planned Supercharger locations within 2 years.

Tesla’s long term expansion plan (meaning 4-5 years).

The instrument display on the Tesla Model S, showing charging during the Supercharger network launch.

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