Tesla is going to need more chargers. Lots of them.
The company is preparing to launch its $35,000 Model 3 electric car later this year, with plans to make 500,000 EVs in 2018 (up from 76,000 a year ago). This audacious timeline has left many current owners worrying about wait times throughout the company’s U.S. Supercharging network. Well, Tesla has a plan.
This year, the number of Superchargers available for public use will double—from 5,000 to 10,000, according to a blog post Tesla published on April 24.
That’s 39% more Superchargers than CEO Elon Musk promised for 2017 when he unveiled the Model 3. The company will also increase the number of so-called Destination Chargers located at hotels and restaurants from 9,000 to 15,000.
Some of the new stations for these Superchargers will be powered by solar panels, have customer centers, and enough chargers to accommodate “several dozen Teslas” at the same time. “Many sites will soon enter construction to open in advance of the summer travel season,” Tesla said.. “We’re moving full speed on site selection.”
Tesla also gave a first glimpse into its strategy for boosting charging options in urban centers like San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, where it’s common to have multi-unit residences with no dedicated parking. The Supercharger network was originally designed to enable long-distance travel between cities and are mostly located adjacent to major highways. Now, Tesla will be expanding charging locations into city centers as well.
(The company has already been installing Destination Chargers in parking garages in New York. It costs an extra $10 to charge up at the garage across the street from my office in Midtown Manhattan.)
Tesla, based in Palo Alto, Calif. said it’s also building bigger stations along its busiest routes and will add more than 1,000 Superchargers in California alone. The North American network will expand by 150% this year.
By Tom Randall