Tesla plans to build 400,000 electric vehicles this year. This will nearly double the U.S. fleet of electric cars. With this influx of new EVs, we want to know one thing: will there be enough Tesla Supercharger Stations to support the Tesla Model 3?
We are at a great milestone in electric vehicle history. In 2016, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, wrote a Master Plan that outlined his aspiration to create a mass-market electric vehicle. With the release of the Tesla Model 3, a consumer-affordable electric vehicle by Tesla Motors, this master plan has come to fruition.
Lack of Tesla Charging Infrastructure
Have you ever thought of getting an electric vehicle?
What if it left you stranded, in the middle of nowhere, and with no one in sight… would you still buy one? Where are we going to charge all of these cars?
This isn’t a new problem. Tesla has known for years that, if they are going to convert people to the electric vehicle, they need to solve three problems:
- Electric cars are expensive.
- Electric cars have a shorter range than conventional and hybrid vehicles.
- There is not enough infrastructure to support electric vehicles in the same way as their gas-powered counterparts.
Improving electric vehicle charging infrastructure was already a topic of discussion back in 2015 when Tesla only operated 830 Supercharger stations. Cal Lankton, the director of global EV infrastructure for Tesla Motors, echoed this sentiment at the Grid Summit in Los Angeles three years ago, “I think the biggest challenge facing the industry is how to get charging infrastructure… The challenges we face in driving sales—multi-unit dwellings, driving habits, and infrastructure needs—they are challenges all around the U.S. We have to adapt our infrastructure policy to meet the needs of consumers.”
So what does Tesla plan to do in the wake of the oncoming fleet of 400,000 electric cars?
1) Build more supercharger stations. Of course, the most obvious step is to build more infrastructure. Tesla released a blog in April called, “Charging is Our Priority” which outlines their immediate infrastructure plans:
“We started 2017 with over 5,000 Superchargers globally and by the end of this year, Tesla will double that number to total more than 10,000 Superchargers and 15,000 Destination Charging connectors around the world. In North America, we’ll increase the number of Superchargers by 150 percent, and in California alone we’ll add more than 1,000 Superchargers. We’re moving full speed on site selection and many sites will soon enter construction to open in advance of the summer travel season.”
- Build stations with more superchargers. Current supercharger stations usually hold between four and six stalls. Tesla recently announced that it is planning to build a new type of station that holds between 50 and 100 stalls. Imagine how much power it takes to support one of those!
- Offer more convenience with their Destination Charging Network. Whether you are at a hotel, restaurant, or other popular destination, Tesla wants you to have access to a charger. The Destination Charging Program offers businesses easy access to free chargers for their customers. Today, the program has more than 6,282 partners and is still growing. (Just back in April, the program had 5,000 partners.) Tesla has gone out of its way to make this program free for approved businesses, which helps explain its fast growth.
Tesla is making big changes to support an electric vehicle fleet. Still, many current customers must still go out of their way to find a supercharger station. For electric vehicles to become mainstream, there will have to be enough Tesla Supercharger Stations to support long-distance travel. So far, the Supercharger is the only infrastructure that allows people to charge their cars in 30-40 minutes. The rate at which Tesla is expanding this infrastructure is impressive. Perhaps charging will soon become a problem of the past… let’s cross our fingers!