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Tesla is making a big expansion to its Supercharger network

Tesla is making a big expansion to its Supercharger network


Will install new chargers in city centers

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Photo: Tesla

Tesla will have more than 10,000 high-speed Supercharger electric car chargers by the end of the year, the company revealed today, a doubling of where it was at the beginning of 2017. It also will expand its Destination Charging network — where the company partners with hotels, restaurants, and parking garages to install chargers — from 9,000 to 15,000 connectors.

The information comes in a blog post as Tesla reveals more about its plan to double the number of its Supercharger stations in North America this year, something first hinted at in a letter to shareholders back in February. Currently, Tesla operates 830 Supercharger stations (which are distinct from individual chargers) in 31 countries. It has 5,400 charging connectors across those stations.

Perhaps the most interesting bit of information in the post is that Tesla wants to make charging “ubiquitous in urban centers,” where street-parking customers may not have easy access to reliable daily charging, like they might in the suburbs. This is especially important as Tesla gets closer to the rollout of its more-affordable Model 3 electric car.

“To better serve the needs of owners who are traveling or those who don’t have access to reliable home charging, we will continue to aggressively expand our public charging networks,” the post reads. This suggests a change in policy for Tesla, which has, in the past, discouraged day-to-day use of Superchargers, saying instead that the system is meant for long-distance travel only.

Photo: Tesla

The company says it will build larger sites along its “busiest travel routes”, and is planning to dramatically increase the size of individual Supercharger stations to allow many Tesla vehicles to charge at once. The Supercharging technology being installed will be the same as the current Superchargers, but more of them will be installed in urban areas to address congestion at existing charge stations and help Tesla owners who don’t have their own garages.

Congestion at Supercharging points has been a problem for Tesla, and the company has rolled out a few changes over the past six months to help address the problem. Back in December, Tesla announced that it would begin charging owners $0.40 per minute for leaving car parked at a Supercharger after it was completed charging in an effort to increase turnover, and new Tesla buyers (including all Model 3 owners) will need to pay for electricity acquired at Superchargers after exhausting a yearly allotment.