Tesla Unveils Supercharger Network (Update 2)

TheStreet.com

Updated from 1:46 P.M. ET to provide executive comments from the conference call.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Tesla Motors announced its Supercharger network will now allow drivers of the Model S to travel across the country, without experiencing range anxiety. And it's going to do it much faster than people think.

The network, which will triple by the end of next month, up from 9 to 27, will allow Model S drivers to travel long distances for free, indefinitely, the company said in an email. "This is in response to people's desire to have really fast charging across the country," CEO Elon Musk said on the conference call.

Additional stations will come to California, and there will be coverage of the northwest region from Vancouver to Seattle to Portland, Austin to Dallas in Texas, Illinois and Colorado. "There will also be four additional eastern seaboard stations, expanding the density of the network to provide for more convenient stopping points," the company said in the email.

Within six months, the network will connect many of the metro areas in both the U.S. and Canada, and will make it possible to travel from Los Angeles to New York using only Superchargers. Going further than that, the company will enlarge the Supercharger network to include almost the entire population of the U.S. and Canada, allowing drivers to drive all the way from LA to New York, Vancouver to San Diego, or Montreal to Miami.


Ultimately, there will be a Supercharger every 80 to 100 miles. "Most people don't even know about the Supercharger network," Musk said on the call. All Model S units have Supercharger capabilities; it's standard with the 85 KwH battery pack, and is optional of the 60 kwH battery pack, and can be turned on for higher price.

The average cost per station, is roughly $150,000 per station in capital expenditures, without solar, then an additional $150,000 with the solar charging, making each station's cost roughly $300,000.

Tesla is also going to improve the technology on the network, cutting the time it takes to recharge the battery to three hours of driving to 20 minutes, cutting it nearly in half. The new technology, which is in beta right now, will allow the Model S to be charged at 120 kW, up from 90 kW previously.

Some of the Supercharger stations have grid storage, and take in energy through the week from the panels, allowing them to go completely off grid. "Even if there's a Zombie Apocalypse, you can still charge your Model S because the Superchargers are getting energy from the solar panels and the battery packs are being charged," Musk joked during the call.


Musk also touched on the future of Tesla, saying that all future cars will have the capability to use the Supercharger network. He's hoping to get a more affordable car in the three-to-four-year time-frame. Some of the obvious elements of the third-generation car would be that it's a little smaller than Model S, which is comparable to an Audi A6 or A7 or the BMW 5 series. Musk has said he'd like the car to cost in the $30,000 to $40,000 range.

Tesla shares fell following the announcement, losing 0.46% to $104.15.

--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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