SAN MATEO, Calif. ? Tesla Motors unveiled the first of six Supercharger stations, which will allow its new Model S sedan to travel long distances with fast charging throughout California, parts of Nevada and Arizona.
The charging technology is already used by the Model S, which enabled Tesla to create the Supercharger device at minimal cost. The electricity used by the Supercharger comes from a solar carport system provided by SolarCity, resulting in almost zero marginal energy costs after installation.
According to Tesla, each solar power system is designed to generate more energy from the sun over the course of a year than is consumed by Tesla vehicles using the Supercharger. This results in a slight net positive transfer of sunlight generated power back to the electricity grid. In addition to lowering the cost of electricity, this addresses a commonly held misunderstanding that charging an electric car simply pushes carbon emissions to the power plant. The Supercharger system generates more power from sunlight than Model S customers use for driving. By adding even a small solar system at their home, electric car owners can extend this same principle to local city driving too.
By 2013, Tesla is planning to install Superchargers in high traffic corridors across the continental United States, enabling electric travel from Vancouver to San Diego, Miami to Montreal and Los Angeles to New York. Tesla will also begin installing Superchargers in Europe and Asia in the second half of 2013.
Tesla says its Supercharger is substantially more powerful than any charging technology to date, providing almost 100 kilowatts of power to the Model S, with the potential to go as high as 120 kilowatts in the future. This can replenish three hours of driving at 60 mph in about half an hour.
?Tesla?s Supercharger network is a game changer for electric vehicles, providing long distance travel that has a level of convenience equivalent to gasoline cars for all practical purposes. However, by making electric long distance travel at no cost, an impossibility for gasoline cars, Tesla is demonstrating just how fundamentally better electric transport can be,? said Elon Musk, Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO. ?We are giving Model S the ability to drive almost anywhere for free on pure sunlight.?
Tesla unveiled the Model S in June with a base model price tag of $49,900 after a federal tax credit. The Supercharger stations are currently only open to company employees but should open to the public this month.