Arguably America's most successful producer of electric vehicles, Tesla is taking some seriously proactive measures to keep its hot streak going strong. For openers, Tesla co-founder Elon Musk has announced plans to triple the number of its dedicated Supercharger quick-charging stations in place by the end of this month, from 8 to 27. That initial rollout will include more facilities in the critical California market as well as expanded coverage in the northwest region from Vancouver to Seattle to Portland, Austin to Dallas in Texas, new facilities in Illinois and Colorado plus four new stations on the eastern seaboard.
Within a year, Tesla will add a sufficient number of other new locations to permit all current and future Model S owners to drive from coast to coast via Interstate 80 using only these facilities to replenish the batteries in their vehicles. Given that any in the group who own a Model S with an 85kWh battery will continue to have free unlimited access to all Supercharger stations, they'll literally be able to make almost any trip without ever having to pay for the electricity. (Owners of a Model S with a 60kWh battery pack can upgrade to Supercharging capability as a $2,000 option when new or as a $2,500 post-delivery purchase). Musk added that by the end of 2014, this ambitious program will up coverage in the U.S. and Canada to 80 percent of the populated areas, and that figure will rise to 98 percent by the end of 2015.
There's an aggressive mid-term plan as well. By the end of 2013, Tesla's Supercharger network will have broadened to connect most major metro areas in the U.S. and parts of Canada, including the first locations in Arizona, new stations in Texas and Florida, the Midwest, across North and South Carolina into Georgia plus new Supercharger stations that will connect Ottawa with Montreal.
Musk also noted that in addition to increasing the absolute number of Supercharger locations, Tesla will enhance the technology they employ. By increasing the recharging rate to 120kW, the new Gen II Supercharger systems deliver about 16 times more electricity to the battery than most public stations, The net result is that replenishment time is trimmed by 30 percent, allowing a Model S to take on three hours of additional driving time in just over 20 minutes.
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